Turkish Cypriot president Derviş Eroğlu on Friday received the leaders of political groups of the European Parliament for talks, but the most senior official of the European delegation, European Parliament President Martin Schulz, did not participate in the meeting.
The European Parliament delegation traveled to the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (KKTC) from the Greek side of the island. The group had had talks with the Greek Cypriot leaders on the upcoming Greek Cypriot presidency of the EU, the Anatolia news agency reported.
The delegation that met with Eroğlu included Hannes Swoboda, president of the group the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats; Guy Verhofstadt, leader of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe; and Martin Callanan, the leader of the Conservative Group.
In addition to Schulz, leaders of the European People's Party (Christian Democrats) and the European United Left/Nordic Green Left (GUE/NGL) also did not attend the talks with Eroğlu, even though they were part of the delegation that visited Cyprus.
No statement was made after the meeting. Greek Cyprus' upcoming presidency risks further complicating the decades-old Cyprus issue and Turkey's hopes of joining the European Union. Turkey, which does not recognize the Greek Cypriot government, has said it will not negotiate with the EU presidency during the Greek Cypriot term. Turkish and Turkish Cypriot officials have also suggested that Turkey and Turkish Cyprus may implement a “Plan B” to resolve the Cyprus dispute if UN-backed talks to reunite the island fail to yield progress by the time the Greek Cypriot presidency begins.