Papandreou in Ankara

Foreign Minister George Papandreou visited Ankara yesterday for a meeting of the EU troika with Turkey. On the agenda were EU-Turkey relations and the accession partnership, recent developments in political and legislative reform, human rights, Cyprus and international issues, such as the Middle East and Iraq. Papandreou met with President Ahmet Sezer, Prime Minister Abdullah Gul, ruling party leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Foreign Minister Yasar Yakis. In all meetings, the two sides confirmed their desire to strengthen ties. They also seemed to look favorably on the possibility of reaching agreement on security for Cyprus beyond the UN plan currently being discussed. In Athens, PM Costas Simitis said it was difficult to reach a deal by the UN’s Feb. 28 deadline because of Rauf Denktash’s objections. The Turkish-Cypriot leader said if there is no deal, his breakaway state will apply for EU membership.

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