NEWS

Turk FM ‘won’t give in’ to Cypriots

Nicosia yesterday brushed aside a pledge by Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul «not to give in to Greek-Cypriot blackmail» in order to keep Ankara’s bid to join the European Union on track. «The EU is not blackmailing anyone – it simply demands that Turkey meet the obligation it undertook toward the EU,» Cypriot government spokesman Christodoulos Pasiardis said. Gul had earlier declared, «It is definitely not right to link Turkey’s EU accession to the Cyprus problem, but we will not give in to the blackmail and pressure from the Greek Cypriots.» He was visiting the Turkish-occupied north of Nicosia for celebrations marking the 23rd anniversary of the creation of the illegal Turkish state on the island. He took the opportunity to reaffirm Ankara’s solidarity with the Turkish Cypriots living in the island’s occupied north. «For us, Cyprus is a national cause,» he said. Responding to questions regarding Ankara’s hopes for a proposal by the EU’s Finnish presidency, aimed at breaking the deadlock over Cyprus, Gul noted that Finland has yet to submit its ideas in writing. «A comprehensive solution can only be found within the context of the United Nations. If the Finnish presidency thinks it has the guts to submit proposals for [such a solution], let it do so and we will examine them,» he said. The EU has warned Turkey to open its ports to shipping from Cyprus, an EU member state, by next month or face suspension of its accession talks.