NEWS

Turk FM looks to Cyprus solution

As Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis reiterated Greece’s support for Turkey’s European Union accession on the condition that Ankara fulfill all the necessary criteria, Turkey’s new foreign minister, Ahmet Davutoglu, highlighted as his main priorities joining the EU and «tackling problems with all border countries.» Speaking from Stockholm, where he was attending a European Union summit, Karamanlis repeated Greece’s policy opposite Turkey, namely «full compliance equals full accession.» He also took the opportunity to press Sweden, which next month takes over the EU’s rotating presidency, to boost support for Greece’s fight to curb illegal immigration, which Turkey has failed to support as much as Athens would like. In an interview with a few select journalists from European Union countries in Ankara including a Kathimerini reporter, Davutoglu made detailed reference to the Cyprus problem, stressing, «We do not want to see Cyprus as a barrier [to EU accession].» Meanwhile, Davutoglu’s deputy in charge of European affairs, Egemen Bagis, proposed the «simultaneous lifting» of the isolation of the Turkish Cypriots and the ban that Ankara has imposed on Cypriot planes and ships from docking at Turkish airports and ports. The suggestion would not be acceptable to Athens, as it would imply a recognition of authorities in the Turkish-occupied north of Cyprus. As for the new peace drive on the divided island, Bagis remarked that «we must create incentives for [Cyprus President Dimitris] Christofias if there is to be progress.» He did not specify what kind of incentives these might be.