EU leak over Turkish bid

Ankara insisted yesterday that it would not recognize the Republic of Cyprus before the December 17 European Union summit which will determine whether to grant Turkey a date for the start of EU accession talks. This came just after a draft of the summit statement, prepared by the Dutch EU presidency, was leaked to the press. This set a strict framework for negotiations, called for de facto Turkish recognition of Cyprus and provided for suspension of talks with Ankara if a third of EU members decides that Turkey has gone back on reform pledges. «Let [the EU] first do what has to be done, and then we’ll see,» Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul said, commenting on the question of Cyprus’s recognition. In Athens, Foreign Ministry spokesman Giorgos Koumoutsakos said that negotiations on the final statement had just started. «Greece will continue its efforts regarding the final wording of the text all the way up to December 17,» he said. Athens backs Turkey’s EU prospects, while insisting that Ankara must recognize Cyprus. On Thursday, Foreign Minister Petros Molyviatis is to discuss the matter with his EU counterparts during visits to Italy, the UK, Germany and Austria.