Turkey’s offer to open a sea and airport to Greek Cypriot traffic, aimed at breaking a deadlock in talks over its EU membership, has not convinced Cyprus. It says it will take a tougher line in negotiations, if Europe accepts the offer. As ambassadors discuss the matter in Brussels today, there’s scepticism on the streets of Nicosia. “What Turkey is asking for is just a game,” this man said. “Turkish troops should leave Cyprus and then people – both Turkish cypriots and Greek cypriots- can live in peace.”
Turkey says it wants concessions for the Turkish north of Cyprus, which is under a trade embargo, in return for opening its ports. Residents in the north agree.
Bulent Semiler, banker, said: “They should be opened but in return the Greek Cypriot side should give up something. It shouldn’t be an inherent right.” Turkey agreed to open its ports to new EU members in 2005. But it has refused to accept goods from Cyprus. The EU will decide later this month whether to finally suspend membership talks on key policy matters with Ankara.