GUE/NGL MEPs mentioned the resolution of the Cyprus issue, violations of human rights and free speech, respect of international conventions and of neighbouring countries as conditions for Turkey to move ahead in its EU accession process during a debate on the 2014 Progress report on Turkey in the European Parliament this afternoon.

Stating that the latest effort to resolve the Cyprus problem was an issue that concerned the report, Cypriot MEPs Takis Hadjigeorgiou said that there were real possibilities of a settlement and called on EU representatives, notably he EP president, the President of the Council and the Commission president to be present at the negotiations “to ensure that the proposals made are in line with the 'acquis communautaire' and that the final settlement is inspired by the fundamental values of the EU. But any solution should put pressure on Turkey on issues such as its guarantees and the withdrawal of the Turkish army. This kind of solution would send a good message to the EU and further afield.”

For Greek MEP Kostas Chrysogonos, the country is making anything but progress. “We have a Turkish government responding to accusations of corruption by firing judges and prosecutors and banning YouTube and Twitter. A society in which young girls are forced to marry against their will does not respect equality of the sexes. A country occupying part of another country – i.e. Cyprus – and disputing Greek sovereignty in some areas of the Aegean cannot be a candidate for the EU.”

Cypriot MEP Neoklis Sylikiotis asked: “A few months ago here, we condemned the violation of Cyprus's Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) by Turkey, so why does the rapporteur recommend opening the energy chapter today?”

He continued: “Turkey should first and foremost sign and ratify the Convention of the Sea and recognise the Republic of Cyprus. We should insist that all the Copenhagen criteria and Turkey's conventional obligations be respected. We welcome attempts to withdraw some of the occupation forces, to implement the 550 resolution and additional protocol and to contribute constructively on the basis of a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation with one sovereignty and one international personality. But colonisation should stop straight away.”

Greek MEP Sofia Sakorafa commented: “It has been 10 years since we started accession negotiations with Turkey. During these 10 years Turkey has continued to occupy Cyprus, to violate the sovereign rights of its neighbours, to ignore international conventions, for example the Cyprus EEZ, and to violate European airspace (2700 times in the last 18months).”

She concluded: “If there is not a withdrawal of the occupational forces from Cyprus, if the Republic of Cyprus is not recognised, if the additional protocol is not implemented, if the casus belli towards Greece, an EU member state, is not lifted, if violation of airspace and maritime borders does not stop, then no enlargement can take place, no further chapters can be opened and no deepening of the customs union can take place. We should stand absolutely firm on all these issues.”

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