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Greek Demands Jeopardize Partnership Council

InternationalThe acceptance of Greek Cypriot demands by European Union (EU) term president Luxembourg has jeopardized the Partnership Council meeting on April 26.

The adoption has also caused Britain and Italy to protest that Luxembourg has reflected the requests of Greek Cypriots in the draft text. Following the two countries\' objection to the draft, the EU has failed to reach a consensus on a common attitude document that will be presented at the Council meeting with Turkey on April 26th. Ambassadors of EU member countries will deal with the issue in the Permanent Representatives Committee meeting today and will try to adopt a common attitude. Greek Cypriots have asked for the enforcement of the Ankara protocol as soon as it is signed. As the protocol must be signed before October 3rd, Greek Cypriot ships will able to use Turkish ports before then.

The second demand of Greek Cypriots requires the normalization of relations between Turkey and EU countries, in particular Cyprus. Britain and Italy are opposed to the draft as it was written by Luxembourg without considering Turkey\'s attitude and only includes Greek Cypriots demands. A British diplomat told Zaman that the December 17 Summit resolutions only ask Turkey to sign the Ankara Agreement\'s Additional Protocol and that the implementation of the protocol is not included in the resolutions. The same diplomat points out that such a serious issue should not be brought to the Partnership Council as it is \'not the right place\' for demands to normalize relations.

Demands for \'normalization\' include recognition of Greek Cypriots and the removal of the Turkish power of veto against the Greek Cypriots, which could hamper their access to international organizations. Greek Cypriots are alone in their second demand, the British diplomat stresses though some members back the demand for the protocol to be put into practice by October 3rd. If the EU ambassadors fail to settle the issue today, it will be placed on the agenda of the Cabinet Council, for which EU foreign ministers will convene on Monday, April 25. If no consensus is reached at the Council, it will be canceled.

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