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Turkish Premier: Greek Cypriots must reciprocate
2003-05-09 12:10:11

Nicosia, May 9 (CNA) -- Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan has called on the Greek Cypriot side to reciprocate to moves Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash has made in the past few weeks.

Erdogan, speaking at the checkpoint of the Turkish Cypriot regime near the buffer zone during a one-day illegal visit, claimed that Denktash has a constructive approach towards the resumption of UN-led peace talks.

Asked by CNA to comment on recent developments on the island, the Turkish premier, speaking through an interpreter, said ''I value these steps at the 'border' as positive steps, I also value Denktash's proposal to open the closed area of Varosha to be utilized, made on 2 April, as a very positive step as well.''

Erdogan was referring to the partial lifting of restrictions on freedom of movement Denktash had imposed since 1974 when Turkish troops invaded Cyprus.

''All these steps towards a solution should also be counter-replied by the Greek Cypriot administration of south Cyprus as well,'' Erdogan said, adding that ''we want this beautiful island to be an island of peace, we want the first quarter of the 21st century to establish peace, let our steps towards peace continue and make Cyprus an island of peace.''

Invited by CNA if he would persuade Denktash to return to the negotiating table, Erdogan claimed that Denktash ''is already in a positive attitude, as long as both sides have an understanding.''

Erdogan went on a walk-about near the checkpoint in occupied Nicosia, which lasted about 25 minutes. The premier talked to a lot of people, shook hands with some waiting in their cars to cross into occupied Cyprus, allowed for photo opportunities, and walked up to the Ledra Palace hotel, lying in the buffer zone under the control of the UN.|

CNA MM/EC/2003

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