The European Commission’s 2007 Progress Report relating to Turkey’s EU accession process, released on Nov. 6, seems to have been envenomed by Greek Cypriots and under the shadow of the Greek world; the Hellenic peoples, both Greek Cyprus and Greece.
A draft released on Oct. 26, did not mention anything about the July 8 Gambari implications.
The Greek Cypriot commissioner had to cancel a trip to the US and return to Brussels to join the meeting of EU commissioners held the following week. His first target was to — one way or another — im-pose the July 8 Gambari implications onto the report and the commis-sion into corroboration, hiding behind his partnership rights.
His second target was to bridge a connection between the July 8 Gambari Implications and the Additional Protocol of the 1964 Ankara Agreement, which is a big headache for the EU.
The EU member states finally realized they were being misled by the Greek Cypriots and that it was a big mistake to let the Greek Cy-priot state to enter the European Union before solving the 44-year dis-pute over the island — which was initiated by the Greek Cypriots on Dec. 21, 1963, known in Cypriot history as “Bloody Christmas.”
As the result of the strong opposition of the Greek Cypriot com-missioner during the meetings regarding the Cyprus issue and the Additional Protocol, eight of 35 negotiation chapters were suspended and the commission was once again forced to put emphasis on the implementation of the Additional Protocol for Greek Cyprus.
Turkey has become fed up with the crises brought about through the candidacy process, such as the suspension of eight negotiation chapters after Turkey refused to open its ports and harbors to Greek Cyprus.
It is unfair that the report, which seems completely Greek-sided, mentions and refers to Turkey’s continued refusal to open its ports and airspace to Greek Cypriot trade, but does not mention the unjust political, economic, cultural, social, sporting and trade embargos which still stand firm irrespective of the EU “Direct Trade and Financial Aid Regulations” dated April 26, 2004 and the commitments made after the “yes” votes cast by Turkish Cypriots in the Annan plan referendum on April 24, 2004.
Greeks hold the advantage when one takes into consideration Turkey’s difficult negotiations with the EU. The submission of unac-ceptable proposals to the Turkish side by the Greek Cypriots has be-come common practice.
The lack of fulfillment of promises to lift the embargos has created distrust of the EU by the Turkish Cypriots and the Turkish people, as well as by the Turkish Cypriot and Turkish politicians.
It is obvious that Cyprus, one way or another, will remain a huge obstacle in Turkey’s accession talks.
With regard to Cyprus, the commission and the EU as a whole should not have any illusions that anything will change soon. The re-port criticizes Turkey’s continual refusal to open its ports and airspace to Greek Cypriot trade but it is highly unlikely that Turkey will change its position until the EU honors the commitments it made to Turkish Cypriots in 2004 to ease the isolation.
For the past couple of decades Turkish Cypriots have been asked to believe that Greek Cypriots have changed, but they see no evidence of that. From Dec. 22, 1963 to July 20, 1974 — 11 long years — Turkish Cypriots were confined to an “open-air prison” by the Greek Cyprus government headed by Makarios: they were not allowed freedom of movement, property or education rights or the right to a normal life. No jobs, no money, no medicine, no milk, no water and no future. And now the unjust embargos held against Turkish Cypriots since 1974 still stand firm.
This creates tension and animosity and is clear evidence that the Greek Cypriots have no genuine wish for reconciliation with Turkish Cypriots. Moreover, their embargo has no authority under Chapter VII of the UN Charter.
It is evident from the actions and remarks of the Greek Cypriots that they would not accept a settlement model based on the sharing of power with the Turkish Cypriots, despite calls from the UN secretary-general, the EU and the international community.
Greek Cypriots are hiding behind the Gambari implications, to stretch the negotiations concerning the Cyprus issue to a date which seems to be decades away.
The commission should write a similar report on the progress made by the EU towards Turkey’s EU accession process, commitments given to Turkish Cypriots and the unjust embargos imposed on them.
It seems that EU can no longer be a fair and objective arbitrator in the Cyprus standoff, after incorporating Greek Cyprus in May 2004 and forcibly becoming a one-sided party to the problem.