The European Parliament has urged Turkey to withdraw its military forces from Cyprus and stressed the need for it to reach a comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus question based on UN Security Council resolutions.

These positions were expressed as part of a resolution arising from the European Parliaments consideration of Turkey’s progress towards becoming a member of the European Union.

The resolution stresses the need to for Turkey to reach “a comprehensive settlement” of the Cyprus question based on UN Security Council resolutions and  backed the direct negotiations currently under way between leaders of the Greek and Turkish Cypriot communities. It also urges Turkey to facilitate a suitable climate for negotiations by withdrawing Turkish forces.

It also welcomed the renewed commitment of both political leaders on both sides to a negotiated solution and supported the ongoing direct negotiations by the leaders of the two communities in Cyprus, noting that it will accept any agreement reached by them provided that it is in conformity with the principles on which the EU is founded, including the four fundamental freedoms, and that it is accepted after a referendum.

The European Parliament deplored the fact that the EC-Turkey customs union and its additional protocol has not yet been implemented fully by the Turkish government.  They also point out that the non-fulfilment of Turkey’s commitments by December 2009 will further seriously affect the process of negotiations.

The non-recognition of Cyprus is blocking the start of talks on eight economic chapters.  In addition, Turkey is refusing to allow access to its ports and airports to Cypriot ships and plans. The resolution also calls on Turkey to comply with its obligations under international law and the ruling of the European Court of Human Rights on the Fourth Interstate Application by Cyprus against Turkey regarding investigations into the fate of missing persons.

Member States are asked to urge Turkey to take action on this humanitarian issue.

The European Parliament noted with concern the “continuous slowdown of the reform process“ in Turkey, for the third consecutive year, and called on the Turkish government “to prove its political will to continue the reform process“ to which it committed itself in 2005.

It is also noted that Turkey has so far started only 10 of the 35 negotiating chapters with the EU.