The president of the Republic of Cyprus said Friday that if Turkey wants to join the European Union, it would have to comply with EU requests, including resolving the issue of the divided island of Cyprus. The president was speaking to journalists in Rome following a meeting in the morning with the pope.
The president of the Republic of Cyprus, Tassos Papadoupoulos, says Turkey must comply with the requests of the European Union if it wants to become a full member. He says there is consensus among member nations that Turkey is not complying adequately.
The European Union this week agreed to grant Turkey more time to comply with EU criteria for entry. But it urged Ankara to do more to protect human rights and to resolve a customs dispute with Greek Cyprus.
Addressing journalists in Rome, Mr. Papadoupoulos said the Republic of Cyprus has supported Turkey's application to the EU on the condition that it conforms with its obligations.
"We remain committed to a solution of the Cyprus problem based on a bi-zonal, bi-control federation bringing about reunification of the country," he said. "For us, reunification means reunification of the society, of the territory, of the economy and of the institutions."
The Greek-Cypriot president said Turkey could not dictate its own terms to join the European Union. Accession to the European Union, he added, is not a "menu a la carte."
"It would be unthinkable to the European Union if an applicant state wanted to join the European Union as a full member to keep occupying forces, military forces, on a member state without the wish or the acceptance of the state, which is under occupation, in this case the Republic of Cyprus," he said.
Cyprus has been divided into a Greek-Cypriot south, which enjoys international recognition and is a full member of the EU, and a Turkish-Cypriot north since 1974, when Turkey invaded the island after a coup by Greek Cypriots who supported union with Greece. Turkey has about 40,000 troops on Cyprus.
Earlier Friday, Mr. Papadoupoulos met with Pope Benedict at the Vatican. The president said the pope was greatly upset about the profanation and looting of Christian churches in the Turkish north of the island and urged greater religious freedom.
A Vatican statement said that the pope and the Cypriot president discussed issues dealing with European integration and dialogue between cultures and religions.