Ecevit: I will not sacrifice Cyprus

ANKARA (AFP) – Turkish Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit said yesterday that he did not have high hopes for a solution in the upcoming meeting between Cypriot President Glafcos Clerides and Turkish-Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash. He added that Turkey would never give up its commitment to protect ethnic Turks against the threat of violence it sees from Greek Cypriots. Denktash and Clerides are to meet on December 4 for their first face-to-face meeting in four years to seek ways to end the longstanding division of the island. It would be beneficial to be optimistic. I hope they reach an atmosphere of consensus, but I am not very hopeful, Ecevit told the state-run TRT channel. Ecevit, who gave the 1974 order for Turkish troops to invade Cyprus, added that Turkey would not make any concessions on the security and protection of the island’s ethnic Turks. There is no difference between sacrificing (the occupied north) and sacrificing a part of Turkish soil. (The occupied north) is of vital importance for the security of not only Turkish Cypriots, but also Turkey itself, he said. His remarks came just before Denktash arrived in Ankara for a health checkup and a meeting with President Ahmet Necdet Sezer to discuss the Cyprus issue. While not abandoning his demand for a greater contribution by the government, Polyzogopoulos now speaks of many possible sources of income for social security, including the free investment of auxiliary pension fund resources in the market.

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