“The message to Turkey should be that the path toward EU accession is open. However, at the same time, it is imperative (for Turkey) to fully comply with the EU acquis and meet its commitments toward the Unions and all its member-states -- without any discounts,” a foreign ministry spokesman stated on Thursday.

 

Referring to the EU progress report on Turkey, which spokesman Grigoris Delavekouras termed an “objective basis” for the relevant discussion in December, Delavekouras stated that “Turkey should leave behind rhetorical and empty statements and move ahead with tangible reforms.”

Speaking during a regular weekly press briefing, Delavekouras also stressed that it should meet its obligations vis-à-vis good neighborly relations, respect of human rights and religious freedoms, freedom of the press, as well as implementation of the Ankara Protocol and the recognition of the Republic of Cyprus.

Responding to relevant questions, Delavekouras observed that “Turkey shouldn’t be told what it wants to hear”, while he underlined the need for “frankness”. He also pointed out that the obstacle-ridden progress in Turkey’s EU accession course is also due to its “slow reform course”.

Cyprus

Meanwhile, in a related development, the spokesman said Athens is hopeful, "but cautious", over whatever chances of progress from the upcoming meetings of UN chief Ban Ki Moon with Cyprus President Demetris Christofias and Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu next week in New York.

Delavekouras qualified his statement by saying that Eroglu is distinguished by his support of a "partitioning and outdated reasoning, one referring to two peoples and two states (on Cyprus). If this is the basis of the position that Mr. Eroglu wants to develop, then there will not be progress," he said, adding however:

"If Turkey, though, exercises its decisive role and Mr. Eroglu appears with a different position, then progress can occur."

Finally, the spokesman echoed Nicosia stern condemnation of a recent article by former British foreign secretary Jack Straw, who opined that partition should be considered on Cyprus if the current talks failed.

"The Cyprus problem will be solved on the basis of UNSC resolutions and based on EU specifications," he added.