Turkey wary of Euroforce deal

ANKARA (AP) – Turkey’s Foreign Minister Sukru Sina Gurel said his country objected to plans to use NATO resources for an European Union defense force, calling parts of a new agreement by EU leaders «disturbing.» Gurel, on a visit to Copenhagen, Denmark, told Turkish reporters late on Sunday that Turkey «especially» objected to parts of the agreement that would allow Greek Cypriots, who are expected to join the EU in 2004, to use NATO assets, such as planning, air-lift, intelligence and secure communications. «New EU members that aren’t members of NATO shouldn’t automatically benefit from NATO’s resources,» the Anatolia news agency quoted Gurel as saying. Turkey – a member of NATO but not the EU – has long demanded the right to veto any EU military deployment in its region. Agreement has been stalled due to Greek objections to giving Turkey any veto rights. In June, Turkey rejected a compromise agreed to by Greece. European leaders say the new text, agreed upon on Friday, stresses the «autonomy» of both NATO and EU, producing guarantees that neither organization will use its armed forces against members of the other, and committing both to respect UN agreements on the use of force. [Yesterday, the EU’s defense and foreign affairs chief, Javier Solana, urged Ankara to accept the euroforce agreement. «It took us a long time to prepare,» he told journalists in Copenhagen, where the Danish EU presidency is briefing candidates for EU accession on the decisions of last week’s EU summit in Brussels. On the sidelines of the Copenhagen meeting, Cypriot President Glafcos Clerides had a brief encounter yesterday with Turkish President Ahmet Necdet Sezer – who on Sunday insisted Turkey needs a date for the beginning of its accession talks.]