LEFKOSA, Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (AA) - The EU is not treating Turkey with sincerity and good will, according to a top official of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus.
The remarks of Turkish Cypriot Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Serdar Denktas came during an exclusive interview with the Anadolu Agency on Monday.
"If the EU understands that Turkey is no threat to it, but rather an opportunity, then we will easily reach a solution. The EU is not being sincere with Turkey. It does not show clear good will," he said.
The European Commission on May 4 proposed visa-free Schengen zone travel for Turks as part of a deal which would see Turkey stem the refugee flow to Europe in exchange for speeding up the candidate country’s EU membership.
However, among five remaining benchmarks for Turkey to address in order to receive visa-free travel, the EU has called for changes to Ankara's legislation on terrorism – a demand criticized and rejected by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Last Wednesday, the European Parliament halted the visa liberalization process for Turkish citizens in the Schengen zone, citing Turkey’s failure to fulfill the necessary criteria.
"The difficulties that Turkey is experiencing are obvious. Instead of contributing and helping Turkey [deal with terrorism], the EU tries to get results while tying Turkey's hands. These are not sincere attitudes," Denktas said.
About the reunification talks between the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot communities, which resumed in May 2015, Denktas said it was not possible to go against Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus President Mustafa Akinci.
Akinci previously said both sides will come together this year under a federation, and added: “I hope we can make 2016 the year of a solution”.
"The president – elected by the people – is sincerely seeking a solution at the negotiating table. We will merely support this. I appreciate our president's sensibility," Denktas said.
The eastern Mediterranean island was divided into a Turkish Cypriot state in the north and a Greek Cypriot administration in the south after a 1974 military coup on the island was followed by the intervention of Turkey as a guarantor power.
*Anadolu Agency correspondent Diyar Guldogan contributed to this story.