ANKARA (Reuter) – Turkey’s deputy prime minister said on Tuesday that if the European Union went ahead with planned membership talks with Cyprus–Turkey would have no choice but to unite with the northern half of the island.
"If the EU doesn’t change its attitude–Turkey and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus cannot avoid integration,” Anatolian news agency quoted leftist Bulent Ecevit as saying.
The EU has promised to begin Cyprus membership talks next year.
Ankara says allowing Cyprus to join before a solution on the divided island would be a one-sided move that ignored the wishes of the Turkish north and reinforced the current divisions between Greek and Turkish Cypriots.
The Turkish state in the north–proclaimed in 1983–is recognized only by Ankara.
The island has been divided since 1974 when Turkey invaded the northern section.