NEWS

Athens piles pressure on Ankara before talks

Athens added its voice to French calls yesterday for Turkey to fulfill its commitment to the EU as the October 3 start date for membership talks looms and Ankara’s non-recognition of Cyprus becomes an increasingly large stumbling block. «Turkey must meet all the criteria requested by the EU,» said Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis on an official visit to the Czech Republic, while French President Jacques Chirac was demanding that Ankara clarify its position over the recognition of Cyprus after signing a protocol to extend its EU customs union. The position was backed in Athens, where alternate government spokesman Evangelos Antonaros said the Greek government was expecting Turkey to live up to its obligations. «Discussions in the EU are at a crucial, sensitive and important point,» he said, «Turkey has taken on certain obligations in respect of the 25 member states, which it has to respect and enforce.»