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US State Department: Turkey should be given a date for accession talks
2004-11-30 09:59:44

by Demetris Apokis

Washington, Nov 30 (CNA) ---- Turkey should be given a date to start accession negotiations with the European Union, US State Department Spokesman Richard Boucher said at his regular briefing yesterday.

Answering questions Boucher said that the US government has not changed its recognition policy regarding the so - called state in Turkish occupied northern Cyprus.

Invited to comment on reports in Turkey, Greece and Cyprus that the US is ready to push for a new initiative in the Cyprus issue, Boucher said ''I don't have anything new for you, no''.

Answering a question regarding Turkey's European bid and the fact that some countries insist that Turkey should recognize the Republic of Cyprus before starting accession talks, Boucher said that the US believes that Turkey should be put on a path to EU membership.

''We are not a member of the EU, but we certainly do believe that Turkey needs to be put on a path to membership. We have made that very clear. As to what specifically needs to be decided within the EU to do that, we do think it's important that they set a date. But some of these decisions they have to work out within the EU. We recognize that'', he noted.

Answering another question Boucher said that the US government has not changed its recognition policy regarding the so - called state in Turkish occupied northern Cyprus.

''We have not changed our policy on recognition. We are not intending to change it, nor have we been asked to change it by the Turkish Cypriots'', he said, adding ''we have been looking, as you know, at the airports in the north, where the Transportation Security Agency has been up there and looked around to see whether they can qualify for travel. But that in itself, should that decision be made, does not imply change in the recognition policy''.

Answering another question about the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency putting in its maps notes about the illegal airports in the north, Boucher said he does not think the note on a map constitutes an act of recognition.

''I have no idea what the geo-spatial whatever it is does, and why they put notes on their maps, whether they're putting notes on their maps for pilots who might need to land in emergencies or what. I don't think the note on a map constitutes an act of recognition, and our recognition policy has not changed'', he said.

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