Anastasiades ready to support Turkey in its EU bid

The newly elected president of the RoC, Nicos Anastasiades, has said that his administration supports Turkey’s membership bid to the European Union and that he is ready for a new relationship with Turkey.

After his swearing in before parliament on Thursday, Anastasiades stated that his administration supports Turkey’s membership bid to the 27-member bloc and that it is ready for a new relationship with Turkey during his tenure. It was his hope, he added, that deadlock over the long-standing Cyprus problem which was also blocking Turkey’s membership bid with the EU, could be broken.

Anastasiades said the Cyprus problem should be solved based on decisions made by the United Nations. Appealing to Turkish Cypriots, Anastasiades said he is aiming to solve the Cyprus problem as soon as possible by also guaranteeing the rights of Turks.

EU Minister Egemen Bağış stated recently that Turkey has always been ready to hit the reset button and revitalize the political process to find a solution to the divided island of Cyprus. He also stated the recent change in leadership of Greek Cyprus could be a new opportunity for such an initiative.

Every election is a new beginning. I believe that this new beginning should bring an opportunity to open the door slightly to a solution. We are ready to hit the reset button for a solution on Cyprus,” Bağış said. Noting Anastasiades’ support of the Annan peace plan for Cyprus in 2004 as an example of him having made the “right” decision in the past, he added that if Anastasiades maintained the same positive approach, this would help to find a solution to the Cyprus problem.

Earlier this week, Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu said Anastasiades would get a positive response from Turkey if he adopts a pro-solution attitude toward the Cyprus problem. The Turkish foreign minister noted that if Anastasiades maintains his 2004 position on the Cyprus dispute and opens the way for peace, Greek Cyprus would benefit from the new situation.

Anastasiades, the winner of the recent presidential elections in Greek Cyprus, is a leader who supported the Annan plan, proposed by the United Nations in 2004 to resolve the Cyprus dispute. The proposal suggested establishing a federation of two states. Greek Cypriots rejected the proposal by 76 percent, while 65 percent of Turkish Cypriots approved it in a referendum that took place on both sides of the island in 2004.

Negotiations between Turkish and Greek Cypriots were launched in 2008 by leaders on the island at that time — Turkish Cypriot President Mehmet Ali Talat and Greek Cypriot leader Dimitris Christofias. They held more than 100 rounds of talks, but the sides only agreed on a judicial issue out of six subjects they were discussing.

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