NEWS

Turkey under Cyprus pressure

Cypriot President Tassos Papadopoulos arrives in Athens tomorrow afternoon for a working visit at a time of heightened activity over the Cyprus issue by Turkey and the Turkish Cypriots. Papadopoulos will meet with President Costis Stephanopoulos, Prime Minister Costas Simitis and opposition party leaders on Monday before returning to Cyprus that night. Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who is to discuss Cyprus with President George W. Bush in Washington later this month, said yesterday he was confident a solution will be found and that the Turkish side will get what it wants out of negotiations. «The lack of a solution is no solution,» Erdogan told a Turkish television channel. «But this does not mean concessions without getting something in exchange.» He said there was no disagreement between his government and the Turkish military over Cyprus. Cyprus’s state broadcast service, RIK, reported yesterday that, according to its sources European Commission, President Romano Prodi had been very blunt in private talks in Ankara this week, stressing that Turkey had to help solve the Cyprus problem before the island joins the EU on May 1. Turkey’s military said yesterday that it backed a solution on Cyprus before May but warned of difficulties. «We aim for a solution on Cyprus before May 1 but a lasting solution takes a long time and is difficult,» Gen. Ilker Basburg, the No. 2 in the General Staff, told a news conference. «We are continuing to work closely with the Foreign Ministry,» he added.