Eroglu urges more EU pressure on Greek Cypriots to solve Cyprus issue
Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) President Dervis Eroglu, who met on Tuesday with Belgian Foreign Minister Steven Vanackere -- whose country holds the rotating presidency of the European Union -- has said he asked the Belgian minister to take action to facilitate a solution to the Cyprus issue. Eroglu met with Vanackere yesterday in Brussels and called a press conference after the meeting. Stating that he conveyed to the minister the demands of the Turkish side on the Cyprus issue, Eroğlu said they exchanged views on talks between Turkish and Greek Cypriots on the island's fate. Eroglu said Vanackere expressed an expectation for a solution to the Cyprus problem. Noting that the Turkish side is also in favor of a solution, Eroglu said a solution is not possible without the efforts of the Greek Cypriots. Recalling that Ankara had lent its full support to a UN reunification plan back in 2004, he said the EU could contribute to the solution if it keeps its 2004 pledge to start direct trade with the TRNC and end the economic isolation of Turkish Cyprus. "The regulation on direct trade is important for us, but ending isolation is more [important]," Eroglu said. Recalling that an EU court ruling in 1994 annulled previous trade links between the then-12 member EU and Turkish Cyprus, Eroglu said restoring this right to the TRNC would contribute to the development of Turkish Cyprus. Noting that the Greek Cypriots are currently working to block the regulation on direct trade currently on the EU's agenda, Eroglu said they both say a solution is needed in Cyprus and try to block every move to facilitate the development of the TRNC. "They are lobbying in Brussels to prevent the regulation's approval in the European Parliament. There is insincerity here. Their actions at the negotiating table are not sincere," Eroglu said.