Turkey’s EU minister visits North Cyprus

Turkish Minister for EU Affairs and Chief Negotiator Volkan Bozkir has paid a visit to the TRNC, ‘Kibris Postasi’ reports.

During his meeting with the Turkish Cypriot President Dervis Eroglu, Bozkir said the following: “The Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu will be visiting Greece this weekend and three Commissioners from the EU will be in Turkey at the beginning of next week. The Italian and British Prime Ministers and the Lithuanian President are also expected to visit Ankara in the coming days. I wanted to visit the TRNC ahead of these visits to assess the situation on the island and to determine future steps”.

Bozkir said that the natural gas off the coast of Cyprus belongs to all inhabitants on the island. Stating that the Greek Cypriot side, “continues to maintain its illegal stance on the issue”, and calling the actions of South Cyprus “unilateral actions which are illegal and a violation of international law”. He added that:”Barbaros Hayrettin Pasa Seismic Research Ship is here upon a request by the TRNC and will continue to remain here”.

 He went on to say that South Cyprus is blocking 17 chapters in Turkey’s negotiation process and stated the following: “Until now we rejected elements regarding a Cyprus settlement being linked with Turkey’s membership process. That’s why the chapters have been blocked. Linking the elements of the two separate negotiations processes will only create further complications for a Cyprus settlement. We have been refusing to link the two for the past 8 years and we see no reason to change that today. The Greek Cypriot Administration may continue to pursue its stance but opening new chapters is the EU’s responsibility,” he declared.

For his part, President Eroglu said that Turkey is going through a busy phase in terms of diplomacy. “This visit ahead of the Turkish Prime Minister’s visit to Athens is very important. There are issues related to EU matters which we need to discuss. We shall find an opportunity to discuss and consult on these issues”, he said.

Bozkir also met with Prime Minister Ozkan Yorgancioglu. The meeting focused on the Cyprus negotiations process as well as the on-going efforts to harmonise existing laws in the TRNC with the acquis. They also discussed the water transfer project and the latest situation regarding the hydrocarbon exploration issue.

Touching upon the issue of hydrocarbons, Bozkir said that he will be looking into formulas to deal with the crisis but added that the ultimate goal was to settle the Cyprus problem. On his part, Yorgancioglu said that there is a concerted effort being made to harmonise the existing laws in the TRNC with EU laws as well as to take steps towards economic development. “We want to benefit from Bozkir’s experiences on these issues”, he said.

Bozkir also met with the Foreign Minister Ozdil Nami. The Turkish Minister repeated that he would be sharing Turkey’s EU membership process experiences with Nami as well as how to conduct more effective work within the EU institutions on behalf of North Cyprus.

Saying that South Cyprus was using its EU membership to set obstacles in the way of Turkey’s EU membership bid, Bozkir said that Turkey will not allow issues relating to the Cyprus problem to be linked to Turkey’s accession process.

In the afternoon, Bozkir also held meetings with the Turkish Cypriot Chamber of Commerce and the Turkish Cypriot Chamber of Industry.

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