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Cyprus Government believes Erdogan backs Denktash
2003-11-03 11:37:33

Nicosia, Nov 3 (CNA) -- The government believes there are indications that Turkish prime minister Tayyip Erdogan is displaying his support for the policies and views of Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash, according to its spokesman Kypros Chrysostomides.

The spokesman also said that there are increasing signs that Erdogan will pay an illegal visit to the areas of Cyprus Turkey occupies next week to mark the unilateral declaration of independence of the Turkish Cypriot regime, which the UN has branded legally invalid.

''Erdogan is gradually crystallizing his policy towards Denktash and this translates into full support and full backing of the latter's views. The Turkish premier is reiterating positions about political realities and about two state entities in Cyprus,'' he added.

He said that Erdogan is also trying to blame the Greek government for its refusal to participate in a proposed four-party meeting (Greece, Turkey, Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots) on Cyprus, a move widely believed to sideline the legal government of the Republic.

The spokesman said Erdogan's stance is the result of increasing pressure on Ankara by the European Union to settle the Cyprus question and the connection between the pending political problem and Turkey's European aspirations that is being underscored.

''The question of Cyprus is raised as an issue that should be resolved by May next year, when Cyprus joins the EU and Ankara is encouraged to change its stance,'' he added.

On moves by Ankara to amend in its favour certain points in the progress report prepared by the EU Commission, Chrysostomides said there are indications that Turkey is moving along these lines but no specific information.

He noted however that it is normal practice for interested parties to have contacts to discuss points raised in these reports and added ''apparently this is what Turkey is doing too.''

Replying to questions, the spokesman said the government has no information about the presence of observers in the Turkish occupied areas ahead of the ''parliamentary elections'' among Turkish Cypriots.

''Things are rather sketchy, we have no official information about observers in the occupied areas nor are we aware of what exactly they will do,'' he explained.

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