Athens.- Feverish diplomatic contacts are taking place in Athens and Nicosia, in view of the EU Permanent Representatives meeting, on August 31, as well as the informal EU Foreign Ministers Council on September 1-2. French President Jacques Chirac asks that the issue of the non-recognition of Cyprus by Turkey be discussed between the European partners, two months before the programmed start of the accession negotiations between Ankara and Brussels, on October 3, 2005.
In the meantime, the legal view of the Cypriot Republic is that Turkey with its statement of not recognising Cyprus contradicts the signing of the Customs Union Protocol with the 10 new EU Member-States. As Cypriot Foreign Minister Giorgos Ioakovou stated, four professors of foreign Universities agree with the above view, and were asked by the Cypriot government to study the legal implications of the Turkish statement.
The Cypriot FM added that a number of the European partners express the view that Turkey is unacceptable, while others believe that the one-sided statements of Ankara policy are of no substance, and propose that this be included in the counterstatement of the European Union if there is unanimity.
“The government is closely observing the situation being formed by Ankara’s insistence to not recognise the Cypriot Republic, and will made its decisions when it has a clear picture over how the different European powers will voice their views and following will systemise its actions,” stated the Minister. Mr Iakovou also said that the government is eagerly awaiting the dictum of the European Union Legal Council that will be submitted in the EU Permanent Representatives meeting in Brussels.
Government sources said on Friday that Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis has received a letter from Angela Merkel, the centre-right leader with the best chances of becoming German Chancellor at next month’s election, in which the German party leader proposes to all premiers-members of the European People’s Party to jointly hinder an offer of full European Union membership to Turkey.
Instead, Merkel said, Ankara should be offered the “privileged partnership” proposed by her CDU/CSU alliance.
Sources close to the prime minister’s office said that “Merkel’s remarks are being seriously considered within Greece’s foreign policy framework and parametres”.
The EU is set to open talks with Turkey on October 3. The EU Commission’s proposals at the talks only mention membership, not the privileged partnership concept.
– Turkey’s course in the European Union, in light of the meeting of the Permanent Representatives Committee on August 31 but also of the informal meeting of the European Union’s Foreign Ministers in Newport, Wales on September 1-2, is expected to be the focus of talks which Greek Deputy Foreign Minister Yiannis Valinakis will have during a working dinner in Vienna on Monday with his Austrian counterpart Hans Winkler.