Nicosia concerned about the EP’s decision on the EU-Turkey customs union upgrade

Nicosia concerned about the EP’s decision on the EU-Turkey customs union upgrade

The EP’s report is a slap to Turkey, but at the same time there are open issues

By Michalis Michael

The report of the European Parliament on Turkey was received with mixed feelings in Nicosia. Despite the fact that the accession negotiations may be blocked, while its obligations with regard to Cyprus are highlighted, at the same time, Nicosia is concerned about the window that has been left open for the customs upgrade, which is a red line for Cyprus.

Indeed, information says that Cypriot MEPs did not hide their dissatisfaction all this time, although it was not made possible to change this paragraph.

Greece and Cyprus

With regard to Turkey’s relations with its neighbors, the EP calls on Turkey to intensify its efforts to resolve all disputes on the basis of international law and in the context of good neighbourly relations, condemning the violations of airspace and marine waters of Greece and stressing the need to remove the casus belli. Special mention is made in Hagia Sophia, with MEPs opposing every extreme view that promotes the alteration of its physiognomy as a historical-religious monument, as well as its transformation into a mosque.

MEPs reiterate the EP’s position on a fair, comprehensive and sustainable settlement of the Cyprus issue on the basis of a bi-communal, bizonal federation, a single international legal entity, a single sovereignty and single citizenship, and political equality between the two communities as defined in the relevant UN Security Council resolutions in accordance with international law and the EU acquis, and respecting the principles underpinning the Union. They call on the EU and the Member States to play a more active role in the successful conclusion of the negotiations.

The resolution also called on Turkey to start withdrawing its troops from Cyprus, to transfer the enclosed area of ​​Famagusta to the UN, and to refrain from actions related to illegal settlements. It recognizes the right of Cyprus to conclude bilateral agreements on the EEZ and calls on Turkey to fully respect the sovereign rights of all Member States, including those relating to the exploration and exploitation of natural resources. Finally, the Turkish government is invited to cooperate, or at least to consult with Greece and Cyprus, on any future developments for the Akkuyu nuclear plant.

What it says about the customs upgrade

MEPs insist that in order for Turkey to remain economically tied to the EU, a door must remain open for the modernization and upgrading of the 1995 Customs Union between the EU and Turkey to include the relevant sectors such as agriculture, public procurement, accompanied by concrete improvements to democracy, human rights, fundamental freedoms and the rule of law.

This is precisely the field that causes the major worries. On the one hand, the European Parliament claims that Turkey can not become a member of the EU, but at the same time it leaves open economic paths. For this point, Cypriot diplomacy had expressed its objections at all levels and is the point where everyone focuses on the day following the release of the EP’s report./ibna