Gul vows to boost ties with Greece

As Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis and her Turkish counterpart Abdullah Gul pledged to develop trust between their countries on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York, diplomatic sources suggested yesterday that bilateral ties are more strained than they seem. Bakoyannis and Gul told reporters that they planned to discuss the implementation of confidence-building measures when Turkey’s foreign minister visits Athens next month. «We had good progress on both sides and we will work more when I come to Athens,» Gul said. But Greek diplomatic sources suggested that Ankara is toughening its tactics as regards Athens and has no intention of giving in to EU demands that it recognize Cyprus and open up its airports and harbors to Cypriot aircraft and vessels. Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has allegedly vowed to maintain Ankara’s rigid stance on Cyprus in general elections next spring. Meanwhile, Cypriot President Tassos Papadopoulos met with UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan in New York, and said Greek- and Turkish-Cypriot officials may start fresh exploratory talks soon. Papadopoulos also met with Bakoyannis, who is today to join foreign counterparts to discuss the Arab-Israeli conflict. Bakoyannis is expected to play a key role at the summit in view of Greece’s current presidency of the United Nations Security Council.