The Latest Cyprus Report of the International Crisis Group Discussed The report "Cyprus: Six Steps toward a Settlement" by the ICG was discussed with a meeting at TEPAV.
ANKARA - The latest Cyprus report of the International Crisis Group (ICG) was discussed in a meeting at TEPAV with the participation of Hugh Pope, Turkey / Cyprus Project Director. Pope said that the relations between Turkey, Cyprus and the European Union (EU) constituted a triangle the development of which was depended on the development of all edges. Pope stated: "Either all will win or all will lose."
The ICG report "Cyprus: Six Steps toward a Settlement" was discussed at TEPAV on March 4, 2011 with a roundtable meeting moderated by TEPAV EU Institute Director Nilgün Arısan Eralp. Speaking at the meeting that received close attention particularly from the foreign mission, Hugh Pope stated that Turkey must definitely build dialogue with the Greek Cypriots. Maintaining that approximately 600 thousand Greek Cypriots live on the island, Pope stressed the economic problems suffered particularly by the young population. He emphasized that under the said circumstances, it is inevitable that the Greek Cypriots will communicate with Turkey, the largest economic power of the region. Stating that it is not rational to expect big steps from the Brussels, he said that the EU acted like a 'digestion system' rather than an enforcer body in the solution of problems. Pope added that Turkey's recent policies toward Israel and Iran caused withdrawal of confidence across Washington DC and Brussels.
Prof. Dr. Atilla Eralp, Director of European Studies, Middle East Technical University, criticized that the recommendations stated in the ICG report expected rather Turkey and the Turkish Cypriots to take steps for the solution of the problems at the island. Eralp stated that the responsibility about the Cypriot problem has always been imposed on Turkey.
The report "Cyprus: Six Steps toward a Settlement" by the International Crisis Group made the following suggestions:
- "Turkey should open its ports and airports to Greek Cypriot sea and air traffic, meeting its signed 2005 obligation to implement the Additional Protocol to its EU Customs Union, and also permit Greek Cypriot aircraft to transit its airspace.
- Greek Cypriots should allow the port of Famagusta to handle Cypriot (including Turkish Cypriot) trade with the EU, under Turkish Cypriot management and EU supervision; end their practice of blocking Turkey's EU negotiating chapters; and, in the event of trade beginning with Turkey after it implements the Additional Protocol, open up the Green Line to the passage of Turkish goods so that Turkish Cypriots can also benefit.
- Turkey and the Turkish Cypriots should hand back property in the Turkish-military controlled ghost resort of Varosha to its Greek Cypriot owners, subject to a UN interim regime that oversees reconstruction.
- Greek Cypriots should allow charter flights to Ercan Airport in the Turkish Cypriot zone, monitored by the EU.
- Turkey, Greece, the UK and the two Cypriot communities should put in place a mechanism to verify troop numbers on the island. Similarly, the Turkish Cypriot leadership should organise with Greek Cypriots a census to determine the exact population of the island and the legal status of its inhabitants.
- Greek Cypriots should cooperate with Turkish Cypriot administrative entities, pending a political settlement. Turkish officials should meet with Greek Cypriot officials, and Turkish Cypriots should be supportive.
- The European Commission, supported by the EU Presidency, should continue to serve as an honest broker to secure agreement on interim steps. Leaders of EU member states should avoid partisan statements at a time when UN talks continue and no one party is being clearly obstructive."