If Turkey does not change its stance and does not fulfill its obligations, by recognising the Republic of Cyprus and withdrawing its troops from the island, it will never join the EU, President of the Republic of Cyprus Demetris Christofias said on Saturday, speaking at the Cypriot community premises in Sydney, Australia.

President Christofias, who attended a dinner hosted by the Cypriot community in Sydney, expressed the conviction that Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan will be the winner of the forthcoming elections in Turkey, noting that he hopes that elections will give Erdogan the chance to change his stance, respect the independence, territorial integrity and sovereignty of the Republic of Cyprus and the Cypriots.

The President noted that there is an expectation both from the Greek Cypriots and the Turkish Cypriots for a settlement of the Cyprus problem soon but the illegal settling which continues is detrimental first of all for the Turkish Cypriots.

“There is a major change of the demographic character of the Turkish Cypriot community. This is a war crime and we must denounce the presence of thousands of Turks that occupy the properties of Greek Cypriot refugees. This is illegal, a crime and I thank you for taking such a clear position on these illegal actions from the Turkish authorities,“ he noted.

He noted that Erdogan behaved arrogantly, with cynicism and in an offensive way against Turkish Cypriots who demonstrated against illegal settling and the oppressive financial measures of Turkey against them.

President Christofias noted that if Turkey wants to become a more civilized and democratic state, to be able to join the EU as a full member, it needs to implement reforms in the country and change radically its policy and show this in practice with its neighbours, as the Republic of Cyprus, which it ignores.

“If they don`t change their stance and fulfill their obligations, by recognising the Republic of Cyprus, withdrawing their troops, they will never join the EU. And they are getting this message not only from outside but also from many other EU member states. We support Turkey`s full membership to the EU, but this is not a blank cheque,“ he added.

President Christofias reiterated his commitment for the evolution of the united state to a bizonal, bicommunal federal state, in the framework of a settlement of the Cyprus problem, noting that he has undertaken initiatives to convince Turkey that for the Cypriot government Turkish Cypriots are equal citizens of the Republic of Cyprus as are the Greek Cypriots, the Maronites, the Armenians and the Latins.

“I tried to convince (Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis) Eroglu but he has a different vision. My vision is for a federal state with political equality as described by UN resolutions, with a single sovereignty, a single citizenship and a single personality and with the effective participation of both communities in the power institutions,“ he noted.

“Unfortunately I must say that Eroglu`s vision is the same as (Rauf) Denktash`s vision for the division of Cyprus, for two states with a loose central government, like a confederation, something which is absolutely unacceptable for us. But the key is not in Nicosia, it is in Turkey`s hands. I hope that after the elections we will have a new Turkish policy for a neighbourhood of friendship with Cyprus,“ he concluded.

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