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Turkish MFA spokesman: Protocol may be signed towards end of week
2005-07-26 11:18:35

Nicosia, Jul 26 (CNA) -- Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Namik Tan has told CNA that a protocol extending Turkey's customs union with the ten new European Union members, including Cyprus, may be signed towards the end of this week.

Invited by CNA to comment on reports that Turkey will sign the protocol Wednesday, Tan said ''it may be during this week but I donít think it is going to be on Wednesday.''

Responding to questions, he said the signing of the protocol has nothing to do with Wednesday's meeting between British Prime Minister Tony Blair and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayiip Erdogan in London.

''The prime minister's visit to London is something else,'' he said.

''There is no date set (for the signing). However it may be during this week, towards the end of this week,'' he added.

Asked about the issues to be discussed during Erdogan's meeting with Blair, Tan said ''Cyprus probably will be discussed.''

''As you know, we want the isolation of Turkish Cypriots to be lifted. We will definitely speak about that, and also the Turkey-EU perspective will be taken up, most probably terrorism will also be discussed and also bilateral relations,'' he added.

Asked if Turkey will issue a declaration after it signs the customs union extension protocol saying that it does not recognize the Republic of Cyprus, Tan replied: ''Yes. But as to the content of it, we will say whatever we consider necessary to be said. It is a declaration by our side.''

He said this matter will not be discussed by Blair and Erdogan.

''This is not going to be discussed, because we have informed the Presidency that we are ready to sign the protocol. Now the ball is on the side of the (British) presidency (of the EU),'' he added.

Asked to comment on the common EU stand that any effort by Turkey to annul the substance of the extension protocol will not be accepted, Tan said ''we will do it anyway because they know it.''

''We have to put it on the record and make it a central part of this protocol because this is a legal obligation of ours, to put on record our official position,'' he concluded.

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