Ankara, Denktash ready deal

Turkey proposes to sign a customs union agreement with the Turkish-Cypriot leadership this week, nearly four months after Cyprus’s European Union accession treaty was signed in Athens, reports said yesterday. An Athens News Agency dispatch from Cyprus quoted Turkey’s NTV television station as saying a delegation of four Turkish ministers, headed by Deputy PM Abdullatif Sener, was expected to sign the agreement in occupied northern Cyprus on Friday. Cypriot government spokesman Kypros Chrysostomides said any such treaty would be illegal. «This is a show of support by Ankara for (Turkish-Cypriot leader Rauf) Denktash.» Meanwhile, yesterday Cyprus’s state statistical service issued figures on the numbers of Cypriots who crossed the dividing line between April 23, when such visits started, and July 13. Over 500,000 Greek Cypriots entered the occupied north – where they spent some 5.5 million Cypriot pounds (9.48 million euros) – while some 400,000 Turkish-Cypriots went south, spending some 3.1 million pounds (5.34 million euros).