Thursday, 11 February 2010
Ria Oomen-Ruijten recommendations on Turkey - Cyprus approved by EP
Below, video of the full 210 minute debate at the European Parliament - 10th February 2010
"EU Parliament to Turkey - Troops and settlers out of Cyprus now"
(The video can be downloaded from links at the source page here)
Below, a translation into English of the 10th February 2010 main evening news in Greek
Newscaster, Emilia Kenevezou - Good evening ladies and gentlemen. A strong message supporting Cyprus, and a devastating condemnation of Turkey was sent out today by the European Parliament which told it to begin to withdraw its troops from Cyprus, to contribute to improving the atmosphere for the talks and to stop creating obstacles in the island's search for offshore oil deposits. There was also a reference to a return of Famagusta and to the issue of settlers. We will hear the details in our report. The resolution was passed with a big majority for the recommendations contained in a report about Turkey's progress in its accession process towards the EU during 2009, which said that this was limited.
Correspondent's Report - Turkey must withdraw its forces from Cyprus and contribute to the peace process on Cyprus if it wishes to join the European Union. These clear conditions were contained in the Progress Report on Turkey's accession process for 2009 which was passed by the full parliament today with a big majority. With its resolution, the Europarliament calls on the Turkish Government to contribute in a concrete way towards finding a bizonal bicommunal Federal solution in accordance with the relevant resolutions of the United Nations and on the principles on which the European Union is based. The Parliament encourages Turkey to contribute towards the creation of an appropriate atmosphere for the negotiations by withdrawing its troops, facing up to the issue of Turkish settlers on the island and by returning the city of Famagusta to its legal inhabitants in accordance with UN resolution 550.
(Quote from the new European Enlargement Commissioner, Stefan Fuele) - "The Commission remains committed to the accession process with Turkey as this process gives strong encouragement to political and economic reform".
In the discussion which preceded the vote the representative of the European Council, Spain's Diego Garrido stressed that the implementation of the Additional Protocol by Turkey is a requirement for the continuation of its accession process. If there is no progress in that, the representative for the Spanish presidency said, then no new accession chapters with Turkey will be opened. He added that one of the determining factors in Turkey's assessment will be the extent to which it has contributed to a solution of the Cyprus problem.
The progress report which was approved by the European Parliament also outlines the limited progress made by Turkey in its accession process during 2009 in the internal changes which it should have made.
(ends correspondent's report)
Newscaster, Emilia Kenevezou - we go now to a telephone link with Strasbourg and the DISY representative Mr Ioannis Kasoulides who was present for the debate and who will tell us more about it. Good evening Mr Kasoulides.
Kasoulides - Good evening Mrs Kenevezou.
Newscaster - A strong vote for Cyprus then, and a devastating message for Turkey with some very clear provisions.
Kasoulides - Yes, it is in my opinion the strongest resolution we have ever been able to obtain here at the European Parliament. I also feel it significant that in addition to the gains mentioned in the report by your correspondent - there had been efforts made to link implementation of the Additional Protocol by Turkey to the matter of 'the isolation of the Turkish Cypriots' which was voted down. There had also been efforts to remove the phrases about the return of Famagusta, and the references to removal of [Turkish] settlers, and for the removal of [Turkish] troops which were also voted down. I feel that all the pressure we had been under recently by the Turkish embassy, by the visit here by Mr Talat, and so many other factors, did not succeed.
Newscaster - I understand from what you say Mr Kasoulides that there had been an intensive diplomatic battle going on?
Kasoulides - The diplomatic battle was one of the most intense ones ever, but I believe that praise should go above all else to Mrs Ria Oomen-Ruijten, the Rapporteur, who genuinely battled for this with very clever tactics, such as the efforts by the European People's Party which called for an inclusion of a reference calling also for a contribution not only by Turkey but also by 'other interested parties' to the creation of an improved atmosphere for the talks, this was conceded, but we won the rest.
Newscaster - Mr Kasoulides, in order that our viewers may better assess all this - how much significance does the passing of this resolution actually have?
Kasoulides - For the first time ever certain things have now come centre-stage, because many of these matters have appeared repeatedly in past resolutions regarding Turkey. However, now, certain things have come centre-stage. The matter of [the return of the city of] Famagusta, the matter of the immediate start to the withdrawal of [Turkish] troops, and the matter of [Turkish] settlers have also now come centre-stage. These are three new factors being presented at the European Union, and were the subject of significant discussion. I believe that the Government of Cyprus is reinforced by this resolution in its negotiations to see what can be accomplished in resolving the Cyprus problem.
Newscaster - Thank you Mr Kasoulides.