FT: Cypriot President Anastasiades Threatens to Torpedo EU-Turkey Deal



anastasiades1070The proposed deal between European Union and Turkey to halt the influx of migrants to Europe “could be scuppered by Cyprus after the country’s president warned he would not accept a key element: restarting key parts of Turkey’s EU membership negotiations,” says one of the world’s leading and oldest business and information organizations, The Financial Times.

Nikos Anastasiades said he has come under intense pressure from other EU countries to remove Cyprus’ longstanding ‘freeze’ on five policy areas in Ankara’s membership talks,” reports the paper.

Turkey has made the issue of accession to EU a key element to accepting Chancellor Merkel’s plan for the return of thousands of migrants ending up on Greece’s shores.

But the deal may not go through if the Cypriot leader refuses to acquiescence, according to The Financial Times.
“I will never accept being forced, and I will never give my consent, because otherwise I have no other choice but to not return back home,” Mr. Anastasiades said in an interview.

As the paper reports, “The Cypriot government imposed the freeze in 2009 after Turkey failed to honor an agreement with the EU to recognize the Greek Cypriot government in Nicosia and allow Cypriot ships to dock in Turkish ports; Mr. Anastasiades said he cannot lift the freeze unless Ankara lives up to its commitments.”

The paper also notes that Turkish Prime Minister Davutoglu “appeared to boast about the concessions in remarks to Turkish reporters following an EU summit this week where the migrant pact was negotiated. “This [deal] has caused a fight within the EU,” Mr Davutoglu said on Tuesday. “They were really forced to turn on the Greek Cypriots in a serious way.”

The Cypriot leader is in the midst of crucial talks with his Turkish counterpart in the northern part of the divided island for the reunification of Cyprus, but is apparently afraid of the backlash that reunification talks might receive if he accepted Ankara’s demands without concessions on the part of the Turkish government.

“Unfortunately, I could say they are putting in danger the whole procedure. They are sacrificing the unique opportunity to find a solution to the Cyprus question by putting us in such a difficult position,” Mr. Anastasiades said. “It’s a very delicate moment, and at this very crucial moment, they are pushing us into a position to say ‘no’ to Turkey.”
(Source: The Financial Times)