Cyprus, one of the smallest countries in the EU, stood firm on its position not to allow Turkey’s EU accession talks to be expedited, effectively stalling negotiations for a massive migrant deal.
EU and Turkish leaders have once again started negotiations for a deal that would potentially stem the flow of migrants making their way to Europe, but are facing a significant backlash.
But Cyprus, along with other European countries, takes issue with certain parts of the agreement. On Thursday, it raised the possibility of using its veto to stop the deal if Turkey did not recognise the country’s Greek Cypriot government.
“Turkey has to open its harbours and airports (to Cypriot traffic) and normalise its relations with Cyprus, something that it doesn’t do,” Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades told Euronews.
For weeks now, the EU and Turkey have been trying to agree to a deal that could effectively stop the unending flow of migrants coming to Europe.
President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker said on Thursday that he was confident the EU and Turkey would reach an agreement during the two-day summit that started on Thursday. However, President of the European Council, Donald Tusk, said he was “more cautious than optimistic,” according to Reuters.
A few obstacles now stand in the way of a deal, with different states and human rights agencies calling into question the very legality of the accord. The Cypriot government for its part keeps insisting Turkey needs to “meet its obligations,” before it will allow EU negotiations surrounding Turkey’s adherence to start.
“What may happen with the accession chapters is not contingent on the Republic of Cyprus. It is exclusively up to Turkey,” Cypriot Government Spokesman Nikos Christodoulides said, according to Reuters.
Turkey still refuses to open its ports and airports to Cyprus, which, according to Cyprus, it is obliged to do under EU treaties. The spat between the two countries goes back to 1974, whenTurkey invaded part of Cyprus after a coup by the Greek military.
The result was a split of the island in two parts and in 1983, the northern part of the island declared its independence.
The Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus is only recognised by Turkey though and is not recognised by the international community, including the EU. The result is that only one state exists on the island, the southern Republic of Cyprus, whose northern part is deemed occupied by foreign forces.
“It was impossible for anybody to expect that we would agree on [the deal],”Anastasiades told Euronews.
EU leaders have been accused of being so desperate tho keep out thousands of migrants that it was going to give Turkey everything it asked for. A previous €3 billion agreement between the EU and Turkey had been brokered in December which did not significantly influence the number of migrants getting to Greece.
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