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Turkish Cypriot leader Talat asks European Union for equal treatment
BayBak, Azerbaijan | 1652 days ago | Thursday, 11th December , 2008 , 04:12 [am] | Azerbaijan
|.||Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat, who held meetings with high-level European Union officials in Brussels on Tuesday, said they were asking for equal treatment and did not want EU mediation in the Cyprus issue.|
Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat, who held meetings with high-level European Union officials in Brussels on Tuesday, said they were asking for equal treatment and did not want EU mediation in the Cyprus issue.
Talat appealed to European Union nations when he met with European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso and EU Commissioner for enlargement Olli Rehn, for renewed pressure on Greek Cypriots to speed up reunification talks.
Hopes that peace negotiations could be wrapped up ahead of European Parliament elections in June were fading, which means that Turkish Cypriot lawmakers will be unable to take up their seats in the EU assembly, he said.
Cyprus, which entered the EU in 2004 represented by Greek Cypriots, has six seats in the 785-member parliament.
Turkish Cypriots have a right to two of those seats as well as access to millions in EU aid, but remain excluded from the benefits of EU membership while the island remains divided.
“We want to encourage the Greek Cypriots to engage in a more serious process, that is the problem. They are not in a hurry,” Talat said. “The best protagonist can be the European Union in the process to encourage Greek Cypriots.”
“Postponement is not acceptable to Turkish Cypriots…” Talat was quoted as saying by Reuters on Wednesday.
“We asked for equal treatment as we want democracy, which is one of the fundamental principles of the EU. The Greek Cypriot administration joined the EU in an unfair way, and it is claimed that Greek Cypriot side is representing the whole of Cyprus. However, in the aspect of the Cyprus problem, Turkish Cypriots want equal treatment and also they want to be listened to,” Talat was quoted as saying.
Cyprus has been divided since 1964 when Turkish Cypriots were forced to withdraw into enclaves. The peace talks to reunify the island had restarted in June. The latest attempt to reunify the island had failed in 2004 when the Greek Cypriots rejected the U.N.-sponsored blueprint.
TALAT: ‘WE DON’T WANT EU MEDIATION’
Talat recalled that the reunification talks were continuing within the scope of the United Nation and that Turkish Cypriots did not want the mediation of the EU which had lost neutrality due to the memberships of the Greek Cypriot administration and Greece, according to Anatolian Agency.
Talat said negotiations with his Greek Cypriot counterpart, Dimitris Christofias, which started in September, were currently focused on the topic of powersharing, “more than 50 percent” of the details of how to set up a new federal government have been agreed so far, but deep divisions remain on power sharing.
Power sharing, property arrangements and security guarantees remain the key issues. Christofias has suggested he would accept a rotating presidency, an idea being pushed by Talat.
“This is the best way to keep the country unified,” said Talat.
U.N. officials involved in the talks say negotiations will continue well into 2009.hurriyet, Voice of a Nation