Turkey ‘will not recognize Cyprus’

As Foreign Minister Petros Molyviatis clashed with the opposition in Parliament over Greek policy toward Ankara, his Turkish counterpart indicated that he had no intention of recognizing the Republic of Cyprus ahead of Turkey’s bid to join the European Union. Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul was quoted yesterday by the Athens News Agency as telling Turkey’s National Assembly late on Tuesday that «Turkey has no obligation to recognize the Greek-Cypriot administration.» Turkey, the only country to recognize Turkish-occupied northern Cyprus as a legitimate state, refuses to deal with the government in Nicosia, despite the fact that, since May 1, Cyprus is part of the 25-strong EU that Turkey hopes, eventually, to join. Gul also accused the Greek air force of harassing Turkish jets in the Aegean, a charge that Greece – which regularly complains of Turkish military violations of Greece’s air space – denied. In Athens, during a briefing of the Parliamentary Committee on Foreign Policy and Defense, Molyviatis clashed with MPs from the PASOK main opposition party over the precise content of an EU clause on differences Greece and Turkey must solve before the end of the year or otherwise refer to the International Court of Justice for arbitration. The dispute overshadowed the issue of US recognition, last week, of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia as the «Republic of Macedonia» – a move which upset Athens.