Dr Charles Tannock

Member of the European Parliament for London

Brown by-passes UN to appease Turkey over Cyprus

30th October 2007

PM's pandering to Turkey's illegal occupation risks damaging UK-Cyprus relations, says Conservative MEP

LONDON, 31 October 2007 -- Britain's relations with fellow EU and Commonwealth country Cyprus may suffer serious damage after Gordon Brown agreed a deal over the Turkish-occupied north of the island with his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, London Conservative MEP Dr Charles Tannock said today.

Dr Tannock, a long-standing critic of Turkey's ongoing violations of UN Security Council resolutions 541 and 550, said Mr Brown's strategic agreement with Ankara over northern Cyprus came periously close to recognising the occupied north as a de facto state.

The agreement, signed in London on 23 October, aims to promote direct commercial, economic, political and cultural contacts between the UK, the EU and the Turkish Cypriots - even though Turkey has reneged on the Ankara Protocol on the enlargement of the EU, which demands the right of Cypriot ships to dock at Turkish ports.

The agreement also explicity recognises the right of Turkish Cypriots to be represented in the European Parliament - without making the reunification of the island a precondition.

In another part of the agreement, Mr Brown pledges his support for ensuring that qualifications from educational establishments in the occupied north are recognised and accepted in the EU - by-passing the legitimate authority of the Nicosia government.

Dr Tannock said:

"Prime Minister Brown would have been better off demanding that Turkey observes UN resolutions, recognises the sovereignty and independence of the Republic of Cyprus as an EU member state and observes its Council of Europe obligations of freedom of expression by repealing Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code, which criminalises any criticism of the Turkish invasion of Cyprus or recognition of the 1915 Armenian genocide.

"Although I support EU funds being used for infrastructure projects in the north of Cyprus to help the Turkish Cypriot community - provided they do not violate ownership rights of displaced Greek Cypriots - I also think Gordon Brown should have raised an issue dear to my heart, namely the wanton destruction and neglect of Greek Orthodox Christian heritage in the occupied territory."