Turkey's Chief Negotiator for the EU talks warned on Thursday that motivation of the Turkish people for EU membership would end in case EU imposes any new sanction on Turkey regarding Turkey's stance in not opening its ports to Greek Cypriot side.
Negotiator Egemen Bagis delivered a speech jointly hosted by the Confederation of Businessmen and Industrialists of Turkey (TUSKON) and European Policy Center (EPC) in Brussels.

Asked if he was concerned as the Greek Cypriot side was exerting efforts to the EU to bring new sanctions on Turkey as the ports were not opened, Bagis said, "many sanctions have already been imposed on Turkey because of Cyprus. We can not deal with 8 chapter headings in negotiations because of a decision EU took in 2006. We can not close the remaining others. Those are extreme sanctions. Any new sanction of the EU on Cyprus will end will of the people for EU membership. Any initiative that will negate the efforts of the two leaders in the island would not serve to the interests of anybody. I don't have concerns for new sanctions because I rely on the common sense of the decision makers of Europe."

Bagis said Turkey would open its ports in case EU fulfills its commitments to Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC).

"Although all the EU member countries committed to remove the blockade on TRNC and pledged for direct trade, only one member (Greek Cypriot side) can make direct trade and free circulation with TRNC. Greek Cypriot side does not want to share this privilege with anybody else," he said.

Bagis said trade with Taiwan could be taken as example in direct trade with TRNC. "Although many countries do not recognize Taiwan, they make trade with this country. We expect our European allies to make the same with Northern Cyprus".

Bagis said Turkey always supported a solution in Cyprus that was in line with the UN principles and that could be accepted by both communities in Cyprus. "We can not explain to our voters how Cyprus question that was not a pre-condition to EU membership of Greek Cypriot side became a pre-condition to Turkey's full membership."

Bagis said, "issues like energy security, fight against terrorism, human and drug trafficking, solution of international problems through peaceful methods, spread of welfare, strengthening of democracy and human rights which the EU has to deal with are also the problems of Turkey. Turkey's full membership to the EU will facilitate solution of those problems and turn the EU into a global actor."

Bagis said, "Turkey in its region acts basing on the belief that 'the fire in your neighbor will spread to your house'," underlining that Turkey acted as mediator or supported solution on many international problems like Israel-Syria, Israel-Palestine, Afghanistan-Pakistan, Bosnia-Herzegovina-Serbia, as well as Georgia-Russia and Iran.

Asked if Turkey felt uneasy over election of Herman Van Rompuy as first permanent president of the European Council as he strongly opposed to Turkey's membership in Belgium in 2004, Bagis said, "we see that he was not affirmative to Turkey's membership years ago when his party was in opposition. However there is an expression in Turkey. 'Any head that is crowned becomes wiser." He has already stated that he would be loyal to previous decisions of the EU. He had a positive telephone conversation with Turkish prime minister after he took office."

AA