Rehn was replying to a written question by Cypriot MEP Yiannakis Matsis who asked how the Commission could exert pressure on Turkey so that Ankara undertakes its responsibilities in Cyprus, where the Turkish army, since 1974, occupies one third of the island’s territory and brings illegal settlers to the northern areas of Cyprus.
According to Rehn, “the negotiations for Turkey’s accession to the EU are being carried out on the basis of the principles and procedures of the negotiating framework agreed by all EU member states in 2005”.
“The Council reaffirmed this approach in December 2008 and the Commission will continue its work on that basis”, he points out.
Rehn adds that “the Commission firmly urges the leaders of the two communities in Cyprus to continue negotiations under UN auspices with the aim to reach the overall settlement of the Cyprus problem by the end of 2009”.
The Cypriot MEP also asked the EU Commissioner whether the Commission is ready to support a census to be conducted in the Turkish occupied areas of Cyprus that would show the real number of Turkish Cypriots and illegal Turkish settlers.
“The European Commission is not aware of any plans for conducting a census in the northern part of Cyprus”, the Commissioner states.
According to a press release by the Cypriot MEP, the written question was submitted in April on the occasion of the so called “parliamentary elections” that took place in the illegal Turkish regime in occupied Cyprus, during which the majority of “voters” were Turkish illegal settlers.
The Cypriot MEP’s press release notes that “the Commission answers in a diplomatic manner, stressing it acts in the agreed framework and instead of urging Turkey to end the occupation and its policy to bring illegal settlers, it urges the two leaders to proceed to an overall settlement of the Cyprus problem by the end of 2009».
The Republic of Cyprus entered the EU in May 2004. Turkey invaded Cyprus in 1974 and since then occupies 37% of the island’s territory.
The leaders of the two communities in Cyprus, Cypriot President Demetris Christofias and Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat began early September 2008 direct negotiations under UN auspices to reach a solution of the Cyprus problem.
Financial Mirror, May 28, 2009 – by Nicos Bellos (CNA)