South Cyprus Leader Nicos Anastasiades is in Madrid for the European People’s Party (EPP) congress, where he will deliver a speech on Thursday on the role of Europe in regional conflicts and try to allay fears at home that German Chancellor Angela Merkel will pressure Cyprus to back down on some chapters that are blocking Turkey’s EU accession.
South Cyprus Deputy Government Spokesman Victoras Papadopoulos said that at the congress, which began on Wednesday and ends on Friday, Anastasiades is set to hold separate meetings with state leaders.
Before his departure, Anastasiades, had said he would meet Merkel in Madrid, to discuss comments she made on Sunday in Istanbul that she would push Turkey’s EU accession forward in exchange for help in tackling the EU migrant crisis by opening some chapters that are currently blocked by Cyprus.
On Monday, the government of South Cyprus said it would not end its opposition to Turkish accession negotiations with the EU, saying the reasons it had blocked chapters in the first place remained valid. Chancellor Merkel said at a joint news conference in Istanbul with Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davugotlu a day earlier that her country “is ready this year to open Chapter 17 (economic policy), and make preparations for 23 and 24. We can talk about the details,” she added.
“The reasons they (the negotiations) were frozen have not ceased to exist,” Greek Cypriot Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides told.
“As things presently stand, we cannot give our consent (to their resumption).”
EU leaders last week pledged renewed consideration of the long-stalled accession talks with Ankara, cash and easier visa terms in return for its help in tackling the migration crisis.
On the other hand, Turkey’s Foreign minister Feridun Sinirlioğlu said there was no link between stalled EU accession negotiations and the migrant crisis, according to an article published in daily Hurriyet.
“Turkey’s EU membership and the Syrian refugee issue are two separate issues. However, they [EU member states] need to see that Turkey is important for Europe in regards to the refugee issue,” Sinirlioğlu said.
With regard to Cyprus blocking accession chapters, Hurriyet quoted diplomatic sources as saying: “The negotiation process in Cyprus is underway. Either a peace agreement will be signed in March and the issue will be resolved via the holding of a referendum or the current situation will be recognised as a solution by the international community if the Greek Cypriot side rejects [the agreement]. This means that no obstacle will remain in front of Turkey’s negotiation process.”