By Zehra Nur Duz
ANKARA (AA) - Turkey on Friday said the recent decisions adopted by the EU at the bloc’s General Affairs Council have once again shown that the EU does not approach enlargement with a strategic approach but rather one based on membership solidarity.
The related sections of the EU’s enlargement decisions on Turkey ignore the fact that the country is conducting membership negotiations with the bloc, and they deny, or even misrepresent, Turkey's importance for the EU as well as the regional peace, stability, and prosperity, the Turkish Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
"The decisions, new example of some member states using the EU for their narrow-minded and selfish interests, do not contribute to Turkey-EU relations, do not serve the general interests of Europe, and do not bring us closer to the goal of creating a positive and constructive agenda," the statement noted.
The ministry said it is surprised to see that the EU, while making these decisions, acts as an interest group based on bargaining, not as a group acting in line with principles and values.
The parts of the decisions on the Eastern Mediterranean and Cyprus issue are also "disconnected from reality", "one-sided," and "inconsistent" as before, reflecting the maximalist approach of the Greek Cypriots and Greece, it added.
The statement said the recent decisions disregard the rights of Turkish Cypriots, and ignore the ongoing unilateral activities of Greece and the Greek Cypriot Administration that have been escalating the tension in the Eastern Mediterranean in recent days.
EU cannot make a constructive contribution to the Cyprus issue as long as the bloc continues its recent approach, it said.
The ministry urged the EU to see the realities on the island, and to end its policy of ignoring the Turkish Cypriots and their vested rights.
Turkey has the will to develop its relations with the EU through a concrete and positive agenda based on the membership perspective, the statement noted.
It is clear that these policies, detached from reality and based on ideological motives and membership solidarity, will not benefit Turkey-EU relations, it added.
The ministry called on the EU to abandon this “strategic blindness.”
The EU, in its final statement released after the last General Affairs Council meeting of the year on Dec. 14, condemned Turkey's "unilateral actions" regarding Maras (Varosha in Greek).
The bloc said the relevant UN Security Council resolutions should be "fully respected," demanding that all steps taken in Maras since October 2020 be reversed.
Maras had virtually become a ghost town as it remained cut off from the world for some 47 years.
A portion of the region -- about 3.5% of the total area -- was reopened in October 2020, with people welcomed daily to visit between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m.
Maras was abandoned after a 1984 UN Security Council resolution that said only original inhabitants could resettle in the town.
Entry was forbidden except for Turkish army personnel stationed in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC).
- Decades-long dispute
Cyprus has been mired in a decades-long dispute between Greek and Turkish Cypriots, despite a series of diplomatic efforts by the UN to achieve a comprehensive settlement.
Ethnic attacks starting in the early 1960s forced Turkish Cypriots to withdraw into enclaves for their safety.
In 1974, a Greek Cypriot coup aimed at Greece’s annexation of the island led to Turkey’s military intervention as a guarantor power to protect Turkish Cypriots from persecution and violence. As a result, the TRNC was founded in 1983.
It has seen an on-and-off peace process in recent years, including a failed 2017 initiative in Switzerland under the auspices of guarantor countries Turkey, Greece, and the UK.
The Greek Cypriot administration entered the European Union in 2004, the same year that Greek Cypriots thwarted a UN plan to end the longstanding dispute.