Turkey Demurs on Cyprus Macedonia at WEU meeting

RHODES–Greece (Reuters)–Turkish differences with Greece emerged for all to see at a 28-nation Western European Union meeting on Tuesday as Ankara disagreed with the rest of the defense grouping over the status of Macedonia and Cyprus.

A formal declaration following a two-day WEU meeting on the Greek island of Rhodes contained two footnotes inserted at the behest of Turkey–a NATO nation that is an associate member of the WEU.

Reference in the ministers’ text noting that Cyprus had begun membership talks with the European Union was accompanied by a statement that Turkey had disassociated itself from the comment.

Turkey–which invaded the north of Cyprus in 1974 in response to a coup orchestrated by Greece’s then-military junta–opposes Cyprus’s accession to the EU while its own bid is on hold. EU talks are being held with the Greek Cypriot government.

Ankara also objected to the use of the name Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia elsewhere in the text–saying it recognized the country simply as Macedonia.

The rather unwieldy name Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia was adopted temporarily by the international community until a feud with neighboring Greece over the name was settled.

Greece objects to the use of the shorter name Macedonia–arguing that it implies territorial ambitions in its own Macedonia region.

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