PM warns Turkey over EU aspirations

Prime Minister Costas Simitis, who is to meet with his Turkish counterpart, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, in Belgrade tomorrow, warned Turkey yesterday that it will not enter the European Union as long as Cyprus remains divided. Simitis rejected the latest efforts by Turkish-Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash to negotiate Cyprus’s future outside the framework of the United Nations. Last week, Denktash sent two letters to the Cypriot government calling for an end to the embargo on his breakaway state in exchange for territory in the Turkish-held city of Famagusta. Nicosia has already rejected what Simitis yesterday described as «two unusual proposals,» which, he said, were «aimed at hiding the responsibility of Turkey and the Turkish-Cypriot side for the failure of the negotiations at The Hague.» UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s report on his efforts to reunify Cyprus, which was made public yesterday, cast blame squarely on Denktash. «The line that divides Nicosia separates Turkey from Brussels,» Simitis said after a meeting of his PASOK party’s executive bureau last night. «The Turkish-Cypriot community has to change policy. We do not need maneuvers and showy gestures.» Denktash responded yesterday to Annan’s report that he had obstructed efforts to reunite Cyprus. Everyone, Denktash said, «was looking for a scapegoat and, as usual, they found it in the Turkish Cypriots.» The Cypriot government, which has expressed satisfaction with Annan’s report, is now waiting to see what resolution the UN Security Council will come up with following the secretary-general’s assessment. Cyprus is to sign an accession treaty with the EU on April 16.