Joy for Cyprus, anger in Turkey

President Tassos Papadopoulos of Cyprus celebrated his country’s signing of the EU Accession Treaty but also expressed sorrow over its continuing division. But Turkey and the Turkish Cypriots reacted angrily, saying the EU had no right to open its doors to Cyprus and that yesterday’s signing would cement the island’s division. Turkish Cypriots will enjoy the benefits of EU accession only if Cyprus is reunited. Papadopoulos, speaking during the signing ceremony, was conciliatory. «The signing is a crowning achievement in the 9,000 years of Cyprus’s checkered history,» he said. «I regret that the artificial dividing wall imposed by force prevents our Turkish-Cypriot compatriots from joining us within the framework of a reunified Cyprus on the road to Europe,» he said. He promised to work toward a viable solution. Turkey, which aspires to join the EU, was represented at the signing by its ambassador. Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul arrived later. «The EU does not have the right to take unilateral decisions on the future of Cyprus and to create international commitments, violating international agreements,» the Turkish Foreign Ministry declared. «Turkey does not accept the legal and political side of the Accession Treaty of the Greek-Cypriot administration of South Cyprus,» it said. «With this signature, Cyprus has been cut into two,» Turkish-Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash said. Turkish papers slammed their government and Denktash.