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FACTDROP: Turkey furious with Cyprus over exclusion from EU meeting on Syria


Turkey furious with Cyprus over exclusion from EU meeting on Syria

Πηγή: Cyprus Mail
By Stefanos Evripidou
Dec 1 2011

TURKISH FOREIGN Minister Ahmet Davutoglu yesterday blasted Cyprus for blocking an invitation to Turkey to attend today’s meeting of EU foreign ministers on developments in Syria.

According to Turkey’s Hurriyet Daily News, Davutoglu condemned the action, saying of Cyprus: “They can impose a veto bureaucratically but they cannot veto Turkey’s historic role in the region. It’s up to the EU to decide.”

The Turkish minister said his French counterpart had invited Turkey to attend today’s EU Foreign Council meeting in Brussels, noting: “It is obvious that countries that have a strategic vision want to move positively forward in their relations with Turkey.”

The Secretary-General for the Arab League, Nabil al-Arabi, who represents 22 Arab countries, will be attending today’s meeting of EU ministers to discuss the latest developments in Syria. The Arab League supports strong action against the Damascus government, reportedly responsible for the deaths of up to 3,000 Syrians, following unrest in the country sparked post-Arab Spring.

Turkey has also announced a series of sanctions against Syria. While some Arab countries appreciate Turkey’s contribution, significant others are not so keen on its efforts to play a greater role in the region.

Columnist for Hurriyet Daily News, Burak Bekdil, noted on Tuesday that the Iranian press has claimed Syrian SCUD missiles are now targeting Turkish territory while a senior Iranian commander has warned that Iran would bomb Turkey if the United States or Israel destroyed its nuclear installations.

According to a Brussels-based diplomatic source, the issue of Davutoglu’s presence at the meeting was raised by EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton earlier this month. Cyprus responded that this had not been agreed by all member states and questioned the usefulness of having Turkey and the Arab League at the same table.

Since some Arab League members do not see Turkey’s efforts positively, why risk provoking a reaction, said the source.

Ashton eventually decided not to invite Davutoglu even though theoretically she could have ignored Cyprus’ objections had she believed the majority of member states wanted to bring him, added the source.

EU ministers are expected to adopt extra financial sanctions on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's government today over the crackdown on pro-democracy protests.

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