UPDATE - Peacekeepers' actions on Cyprus 'incompatible' with UN's founding spirit: Türkiye

UPDATE - Peacekeepers' actions on Cyprus 'incompatible' with UN's founding spirit: Türkiye

Türkiye to keep supporting Northern Cyprus in every field, including its recognition by whole world, Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan

ADDS MORE REMARKS BY TURKISH, BULGARIAN MINISTERS, BACKGROUND

By Diyar Guldogan

Recent actions by the UN peacekeeping force on Cyprus are "incompatible with the founding spirit of the UN," Türkiye said on Tuesday.

"The recent events have unfortunately once again demonstrated how some practices of the UN on the island do not actually align with the founding spirit of the UN," Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan said at a news conference with visiting Bulgarian Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Mariya Gabriel in the capital Ankara.

Fidan's remarks came after the UN Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) last week intervened in road construction work to link the Turkish Cypriot village of Pile in the buffer zone with the rest of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC).

The road expansion is strategically important for residents as it will give them more options to reach Pile, where Turks and Greek Cypriots live together.

The Greek Cypriot administration and the UN are opposed to the project.

Residents of Pile will be able to travel shorter distances and will not have to pass through British bases when crossing to the Turkish side when the 11.6-kilometer (7.2-mile) construction and repair work ends.

The first 7.5 km (4.66 mi) of the road will pass through the village of Yigitler, and the second 4.1 km (2.55 mi) will pass through Pile.

A road construction project from Yigitler has always been on the agenda to deliver the necessary humanitarian aid to the Turkish community in Pile, Fidan said, adding that the UN had never condemned or tried to hinder a roadway built by the Greek Cypriot administration of Southern Cyprus in Pile.

Türkiye observes that the civilian and military presence of the UN on the island lacked internal coordination, Fidan said, adding: "Because there are longstanding negotiations between the civilian representative and the officials of the TRNC. These talks have been going on for a long time. They had been informed when this road would be built."

Ankara did not welcome the sudden accumulation of UN vehicles in the buffer zone, said the Turkish foreign minister.

"We think that the UN has lost its neutrality on this issue," he added.

Türkiye will keep supporting Northern Cyprus in every field, including for its recognition by the whole world, Fidan underlined.


- Bilateral ties with Bulgaria

Fidan and Gabriel also discussed bilateral relations, Türkiye's EU membership process, and regional and international issues.

On Ankara's EU membership process, Fidan said Türkiye's integration with the bloc would reinforce Brussels' position as a "global actor," but that member states chose not to see the matter this way.

Turkish membership would offer "new opportunities to both the EU and our region. I recommend that EU officials and leaders take advantage of this new window of opportunity before it closes," he added.

Ankara expects the EU to reconsider its stance, Fidan said. "All of a sudden, the opening of chapters stopped for political reasons ... The process of rational evaluation of the EU criteria was suspended and the process of political evaluations began."

Türkiye applied for EU membership in 1987 and has been a candidate country since 1999.

Negotiations for full membership started in October 2005 but have stalled in recent years due to political hurdles erected by some countries.

Gabriel, for her part, underlined Bulgaria's strong support for Ankara's EU membership.

"Türkiye is in the EU membership process. Bulgaria, as a member, supports Ankara's initiative towards Europe," she added.

The two ministers also discussed possible future steps on irregular migration and terrorism.

Pointing to Ankara's serious efforts to curb irregular migration, Gabriel said the country had largely prevented irregular migrants from crossing the border into Europe.

"This is a priority area for Bulgaria. In particular, it is our priority to be included in the Schengen area," she said, adding that Türkiye also saw the matter as a priority.

Türkiye has been a key transit point for irregular migrants who want to cross into Europe to start new lives, especially those fleeing war and persecution.

On bilateral cooperation in the areas of economy, trade, culture, tourism, transportation, and energy, they stressed the importance of ensuring security in the Black Sea region as NATO allies.

Enjoying friendly and neighborly relations, Türkiye has supported Bulgaria's integration with Euro-Atlantic institutions.

Sofia joined NATO in 2004 and became an EU member in 2007.

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