FM: Greece united on Turkish entry

Foreign Minister Petros Molyviatis argued there was a national consensus in Greece favoring the entry of Turkey into the EU while his Cypriot counterpart George Iacovou said Cyprus would definitely not veto Turkey’s accession talks if it made certain guarantees, in two interviews published yesterday. «Have you heard a ‘no’ or strong opposition in our country to the fact that a truly European Turkey would be a positive factor for peace, stability, and prosperity in our region, benefiting Greek-Turkish relations and the Cyprus problem?» asked Molyviatis in an interview published in the Sunday Eleftheros Typos. Although the foreign minister did not rule out the possibility of a referendum on the induction of Turkey into the EU, he said circumstances in Greece were different from those in France, which has been discussing whether to vote on the issue. Molyviatis added that he expects talks on the Cyprus issue to begin some time after the December 17 meeting, during which the leaders of the 25 EU member states will decide whether to start accession talks with Turkey. He added that the Annan plan for reunification of the island should serve as a «starting point» toward finding a solution acceptable to all Cypriots. Meanwhile, Cypriot Foreign Minister George Iacovou said his country did not plan to use its veto against Turkey during the December meeting as long as Ankara made certain concessions. He said Turkey would need to recognize Cyprus as an equal EU member and allow Cypriot ships and planes to use Turkish sea ports and air corridors. «Turkey should fulfill the responsibilities I mentioned or at least make a binding statement that it will do so by the time accession talks start, if it fails to fulfill them by December,» Iacovou told Turkish daily Sabah. Meanwhile, Cypriot President Tassos Papadopoulos has caused a stir by claiming the UN had allocated funds to support a «yes» vote on the Annan reunification plan. The UN mission in Cyprus said that the organization’s agencies had long supported bicommunal contacts regardless of whether requests came from quarters for or against Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s plan.