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Media Watch 2005

31 July 2005
Source: Sunday Mail
Comment: The following article appeared in the Sunday Mail of Nicosia on 31 July 2005.
Greece urges end to 'absurdity' of Turkey non-recognition

GREECE yesterday said Turkey’s refusal to recognise the Republic of Cyprus was an “absurdity” that must end as soon as possible, given Turkey’s aspirations to begin European Union accession talks.

Turkey signed a protocol on Friday extending its customs union to new EU members, including Cyprus, but at the same time issued a statement refusing to change its stance on the issue of officially recognising the Republic of Cyprus.

Turkey issued a declaration making clear the signing of the protocol did not mean a change on its stance on Cyprus.

“With the signature of the Ankara Agreement Protocol, Turkey has taken the step formally to fulfil the obligation it undertook last December to the EU as a whole, as well as to each of the individual member states, and thus to the Republic of Cyprus, with all that that entails,” Greek Foreign Ministry spokesman George Koumoutsakos said in a statement yesterday.

“At the same time, in a unilateral declaration – which it unfortunately deemed necessary to make – Turkey appears to insist on the sustaining of a political and legal absurdity,” he said.

“It persists, that is, in refusing to recognise a member state of the European Union, and this at a time when Turkey’s accession negotiations with the EU are set to begin.

“This absurdity must be resolved at the soonest possible time. The signing of the protocol must constitute a real and meaningful step towards the normalisation of Turkey’s relations with the Republic of Cyprus,” said Koumoutsakos, adding that all aspects of the Turkish statement were being carefully examined.

“The Greek position will be set out within the framework of the Council of Permanent Representatives of the EU that is to be convened for this purpose towards the end of August. The Council will make the relevant decisions unanimously,” Koumoutsakos said.

The EU must still unanimously approve a negotiating mandate for the talks before October 3, giving Nicosia a potential veto."