From Mr Robert Ellis.
Sir, Your claim (“Engaging Turkey”, September 8) that “the EU members made a fundamental mistake in allowing that divided island [Cyprus] to join without a deal” flies in the face of historical fact. The European Union agreed in 1995 to begin accession negotiations with Cyprus. At the Helsinki summit in 1999, when Turkey was accepted as a candidate, the European Council stated: “If no settlement has been reached by the completion of accession negotiations, the council’s decision on accession will be made without the above being a precondition.”
Your argument that there is little incentive for the Greek Cypriots to negotiate in good faith is similarly flawed. The Turkish invasion in 1974 resulted in the displacement of around 200,000 Greek Cypriots and the occupation of 37 per cent of the island. Furthermore, the presence of 43,000 Turkish soldiers constitutes a threat not only to the security of an EU member state but also to the stability of the region.
Carl Bildt, Sweden’s foreign minister, has termed the Cyprus peace talks “the most important political event in Europe during the next few months”, because without a solution to this conflict Turkey can abandon any prospect of EU membership.
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