Keep Church and extremists out of Cyprob talks: Erdogan

Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan, speaking to the press on his way back to Turkey from Brussels said that, 2014 could be a milestone in his country’s relations with the EU if President Anastasiades could enable progress in the Cyprus talks by standing apart from the Church and hard-liners.

Turkish daily ‘Sabah’ reported yesterday that Erdogan added that with new governments in France and Germany, the terms in office for the current heads of the EU Commission and Council coming to an end, and the prospect of opening new negotiating chapters, 2014 could turn out to be different from previous years.

In response to a question on the Cyprus negotiations, the Turkish Prime Minister said that a successful outcome depended on the Greek Cypriot president.

“He is under pressure from the Church and extremists. If he manages to get through them, progress can be made,” said Erdogan.

He added that Ankara was trying to ensure that the Turkish Cypriots adopted a constructive approach in the peace talks, adding, “We will try to reach a result as soon as possible”.

In response to the Turkish premier’s comments, Greek Cypriot government spokesman, Christos Stylianides described Erdogan’s comments as “supercilious” and that President Anastasiades did not need lessons from PM Erdogan on how to conduct the negotiations.

He declared that throughout his political career, Anastasiades had consistently defended the common interests of both Greek and Turkish Cypriots in the pursuit of a shared homeland.

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