Cyprus solution by February 2010?

EU-negotiatorTurkey’s chief EU negotiator, Egemen Bagiş, is quoted in EurActiv as saying that he is hopeful of a solution to the Cyprus problem by February 2010 and that the French have promised never to insult him again by using the phrase ‘privileged partnership.’ He than went on to say that Turkey had made a promise to open its ports in exchange for ending the isolation of the Turkish Cypriots.  But the way he see it is that when EU countries allow direct trade with northern Cyprus then Turkey will open its ports to the Greek Cypriots.

He then argues that because Greek Cypriots can purchase northern Cyprus products then the other 26 EU members should be able to. Already Egemen Bagiş seems to be treating the north and south of Cyprus as being separate rather than as a whole. It is as if Turkey sees north Cyprus as a separate country. He denies this and in EurActiv is quoted as saying that, “by trading with Northern Cyprus [Turkey] would not be recognising the state. Just like we all trade with Taiwan, but we don’t recognise Taiwan diplomatically.”

When pressed on whether he believes it was a mistake letting south Cyprus into the EU before there was a solution, he pointed out that he was not alone in this and is quoted as saying that, “some European leaders have said publicly, including [German] Chancellor Merkel, that including Cyprus before a solution was a big mistake.”

As for a Cyprus solution, he said that he was hopeful that by February 2010 both sides will come to an understanding they can accept and that Turkey will fully support whatever agreement Turkish and Greek Cypriots come to.

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