South’s FM “disturbed” by Turkey’s water project for TRNC

Greek Cypriot Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides speaking during a briefing on foreign policy matters at the House Foreign Affairs Committee, has made it clear that Cyprus will not consent to a Turkey-EU Association Council meeting if Turkey’s positions are not communicated to EU member states beforehand, CNA reports.

Kasoulides said that he has sent a letter to Catherine Ashton, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, clarifying that Cyprus will not consent to a Turkey-EU Association Council meeting if Turkey’s positions are not communicated to EU member states beforehand.

“Each candidate state is obliged to table its views in time so that they can be made known to EU member states, allowing the 28 to give the proper answers”, Kasoulides remarked. He added that Turkey had not tabled beforehand the document it submitted at the end of the EU-Turkey Association Council during the EU Greek Presidency, in which Ankara talked about a “defunct Republic of Cyprus”.

Asked about the transport of water from Turkey to North Cyprus, Kasoulides said “this issue is very disturbing”, as Turkey is trying to make the “occupied areas of Cyprus” wholly dependent on Ankara. Kasoulides said he prepared a confidential report for the Cabinet on the issue and a ministerial committee has been set up to examine the consequences of such a move. The University of Cyprus is also preparing a report on the scientific consequences of this development.

Regarding May’s decision of the European Court of Human Rights urging Turkey to pay millions of euro in compensation to Cyprus with respect to human rights violation, Kasoulides said that “we should not undermine the great significance of the decision”. According to the minister, the ECHR clarifies that Turkey is obliged to implement the contents of the interstate appeal regarding the properties of the displaced, the missing persons and their relatives as well as the enclaved (Greek Cypriots living in the North) and at the same time demands compensation. Invited to comment on a report by ‘Simerini’ newspaper claiming that Israel has asked Cyprus to provide it with facilities at Troodos radar station, Kasoulides explained that what is happening is the upgrading of the means which the Republic of Cyprus has to monitor activities in Cyprus` Exclusive Economic Zone.

He also said that the Republic of Cyprus strongly objects to Turkey’s candidacy to become non-permanent member of the UN Security Council. “We will fight this candidacy. Turkey cannot become a member of the Security Council when it is occupying half of Cyprus”, he stressed. Kasoulides said the opening of the energy chapter during Turkey’s EU accession negotiations is out of the question for the moment as Turkey continues to violate Cyprus’ EEZ. He predicted that there will be more pressure in the coming months to open chapters 23 and 24. Asked regarding the town of Famagusta, Kasoulides said Famagusta is part of a package deal. The return of the fenced off area of Famagusta [Varosha] to its lawful inhabitants, the Kasoulides said, would signal readiness to examine legal ways for trade between the North and the EU. Kasoulides announced that Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman will visit Cyprus on 24th July. In his remarks, the Minister reiterated that relations between Athens and Nicosia remain excellent at all levels.

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