Verheugen irks Turks on Cyprus

Turkish-Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash compared the European Union’s top enlargement official to «an elephant in a china shop» yesterday for comments he made about Turkey’s role on the divided island of Cyprus. Enlargement Commissioner Guenter Verheugen said yesterday Turkey’s powerful military has a siege mentality that is reluctant to compromise on Cyprus. Of the forthcoming December 14 voting for a house of representatives in Turkish-occupied northern Cyprus, Verheugen said the polls «might be of some value if the opposition wins.» «Mr Verheugen causes havoc like an elephant in a china shop,» Denktash said in televised comments. «He thinks he can make everyone do what he wants by waving the EU carrot.» Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul was quoted as describing Verheugen’s remarks as «unacceptable.» Meanwhile yesterday, Cyprus and Athens expressed satisfaction at Turkey’s decision to obey a European Court of Human Rights ruling and compensate a Cypriot woman for loss of property during the 1974 invasion.