The Greek administration, which is charged with being inactive and not producing any policy by the international public opinion and the Greek press, has launched a diplomatic attack. A ship with Greek flag was sent to the Turkish port and the issue of implementing the Agreement of Custom Union was put again on the EU agenda. Another diplomatic demarche was to approve the EU regulation on financial aid, upon the request of the Greeks, separately from the Regulation on Direct Trade and to announce that the commitments towards the Turkish Cypriotes are realized by the EU. Hence, the commitment made after the referendum to remove the isolation against the Turkish Cypriotes is no longer a topic in the EU agenda. Particularly the Greek legislative elections to be held on May 2006 led to come again a still point in the Cyprus issue. The eyes are turned on the meeting of Annan-Papadopoulos on February 28. However, no new decision was taken in this meeting and it is declared that the process and conditions for the re-unification are under examination. Annan highlighted the necessity for the pre-meeting with the Turkish Cypriotes for the resumption of the negotiations. With the EU financial aid of 139 million Euro, which is approved in the consequence of the lobby activities of the first Greek diplomatic attack, some solutions will be found to the environment and energy problems in the North. It does not seem likely that the Regulation on Direct Trade is approved in the short term; this regulation is not approved due to the Greek hindrance, but it will contribute to open the North to the world and to equalize the life standards in the North and South. The steps to stimulate the solution of the Cyprus issue will be the removal of the isolations and the performance of the direct trade activities by the Turkish Cypriotes. While the Greek administration describes such activities as promoting the North politically, Washington judges the direct trade as strengthening the economy of the TRNC. The US diplomatic sources stated that the USA does not bring legal restrictions to the commercial transactions with the Northern Cyprus, apart from the agricultural ones and that the USA intends to improve the commercial links with the whole Cyprus. The spokesman of the US Department of State Adam Ereli underlined that the commercial exchanges with the Northern Cyprus are not illegal. The Green Line Regulation, which is defended by the Greek administration against the Regulation on Direct Trade, is approved by the EU with the Greek demarches and stipulates the performance of the trade via the Greek administration. This regulation does not meet the requirements of the Turkish Cypriotes for becoming opened to the world and aims in practice to put the commercial activities of the Turkish Cypriotes under the control of the Greeks. The second Greek diplomatic attack was to send a ship with Greek flag to the Turkish ports with the aim of alleviating the international pressure on the South. In this way, Turkey’s obligation to implement the Agreement of Custom Union was brought to the agenda. The EU Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn drew attention to this obligation of Turkey and stated that Turkey has to open its ports and airport to the Greek ships and planes and that this issue will be mentioned in the report of the Commission. The Greek administration aims to corner Turkey during the EU accession talks and, in its Action Plan recently declared, Turkey proposes that the sides open the ports simultaneously and find out a comprehensive solution. Turkey has to open its ports and airports to the Greeks by the end of this year in the framework of the Agreement of Custom Union that it had signed during the EU accession process. Papadopoulos, who does not propose any changes in the Annan Plan and loses his international support because of his perpetual stipulations, initiated a demarche in order to better his intransigent image. He succeeded in drawing the attention of the EU public opinion to Turkey by sending a ship with Greek flag to the port of Mersin. On the other hand, the appointment of Dora Bakoyani as the Foreign Minister of Greece bothered the Greek Cypriotes. After the appointment of Bakoyani, who is known as the friend of the Turks, the prominent writers of the Greek press started to express the expected change in the foreign policy of Karamanlis’s government with such statements: “we should take Cyprus out the stalemate”, “if necessary, we should recognize the TRNC”. Andonis Karkayannis, chief columnist of the pro-government daily Katimerini -one of the most serious Greek dailies- stated in his article that: “Karamanlis has not appointed Dora to make her conduct the same foreign policy. The Cyprus issue has been deadlocked for 30 years and it is becoming more and more deadlocked. Any solution would be better than no solution. If the Turkish occupation in the Island comes to an end, Turkish and Greek soldiers withdraw from the Island, the free circulation in the Island is guaranteed and international guarantees are assured, a solution based on the recognition of the Turkish Cypriote state is perhaps more convenient for the Turkish and Greek interests”. He also added that a possibility of a solution based on the principal of the “Greek majority-Turkish minority” has been quickly disregarded. Yannis Kartalis, the writer of diplomacy in the ToVima -the most circulated Sunday Newspaper-, indicated in his article that two years passed after the refusal of the Annan Plan and the Greeks did not undertake any new initiative and said that: “they give the impression that they have become the EU member and the problem is, therefore, resolved”. Even the Greek press shows its dissatisfaction with the intransigent conduct of the Greek Cypriotes. The appointment of Dora Bakoyannis will be perhaps a great opportunity in order not to miss the current chance of solution for the Cyprus issue.
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