Dr Charles Tannock

Member of the European Parliament for London

Cyprus referendum result

Speech to EPP-ED Group in Brussels - April 28th 2004

I speak as a friend of Cyprus with close links to the Democratic Rally Party of Cyprus. I also believe that there is too much vilification by the EU Institutions and world media against the Greek Cypriot side and Commissioner Verheugenís arrogance is extraordinary and characteristic.

As Mr. Ioannis Marinos MEP (Greece) said there were no Turkish guarantees of implementation of troop withdrawal and property restitution in the Annan Plan. Turkey could easily renege on the deal. Actually the Turkish Cypriot population is now probably lower than 80,000 he mentioned which is an old figure, as many have since left for the UK. Secondly, in the Greek Cypriotsí mind the Annan Plan legitimised Turkeyís aggression by granting 50,000 of the mainland settlers citizenship in clear violation of the 1949 Geneva Convention which prohibits movement and settlement of population into occupied territories. Unlike the Turkish Cypriots, these people do not share the islandís unique culture and heritage and most do not speak Greek or English, the common languages of the Island in the past.

The Annan Plan also prohibited any further appeals to the European Court of Human Rights for outstanding property claims.

In reply to Mr. Michael Gahler MEP (German), the Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee of the European Parliament sent a delegation last year to investigate money laundering, in which I participated, and found no convincing evidence of widespread criminal activity in the Republic. Much of the illegal money-laundering activities cited in international reports appeared to take place in the Turkish north of the island, which also still gives sanctuary to British criminals such as Asil Nadir, who cannot be extradited. Before monies are handed over to the north, Turkey should withdraw troops and allow extradition of these criminals wanted in other EU member states.

In reply to James Elles MEP (UK), Commissioner Verheugen has said the Commission will open a full office in the northern Turkish occupied sector of the island to administer the ear-marked EU aid money. I am worried that this amounts to de facto recognition of the TRNC without any conditions attached in terms of handing over of criminals or Turkish troop withdrawal.