Turkey Rejects EU Decision on Cyprus

ANKARA (Reuters)–Turkey on Wednesday rejected the European Union decision to admit the militarily divided island of Cyprus to the 15-member bloc in 2004.

"Turkey does not accept the EU Copenhagen Summit decision on Cyprus either legally or politically,” the Foreign Ministry said in a written statement.

It said the EU–which this month approved Cyprus membership–would be violating international agreemen’s Turkey says prevent Cyprus from joining any group of which Turkey and Greece are not members.

The United Nations is seeking a settlement to reunite Cyprus before February 28 to avoid the prospect of the EU admitting an island split into ethnic Greek and Turkish communities.

Turkey–which invaded the north of Cyprus in 1974–has some 30,000 troops stationed there–and outside the EU’s remit.

Turkey invaded in response to a Greek Cypriot coup–backed by Athens–and is the only country to recognize the breakaway Turkish Cypriot administration in the north.

Reiterating standard Turkish policy–the Foreign Ministry said on Wednesday that EU plans to admit Cyprus did not take into account the wishes of the Turkish north.

Prime Minister Abdullah Gul met his foreign minister–the president and the country’s top general for discussions on the future of Cyprus.

Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash–who has shown little enthusiasm for a deal–said last week the EU wished to "possess” Cyprus and was building a Christian fortress around Muslim Turkey.

Greece is an EU member while Turkey faces a review of its human rights reforms in 2004 before it can start membership negotiations. Failure to reach an agreement on Cyprus could undermine Turkey’s drive for EU membership.


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