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Turkey's refusal to allow entry of Cypriot vessel fragrantly violates EU customs union
2006-02-23 13:45:51

Nicosia, Feb 23 - Cyprus described Turkey's refusal to permit a ship having the Republic of Cyprus' flag to enter a Turkish harbor as a flagrant and provocative violation by Ankara of the Customs Union agreement with the European Union.

Deputy Government Spokesman Christodoulos Pashiardis said the government has already made the necessary representations at all EU institutions.

He said the refusal ''constitutes a flagrant and provocative violation on the part of Turkey of the customs union agreement.''

Mr. Pashiardis also said the fact that Turkey did not fulfill the specific obligations and commitments does not concern Cyprus alone. ''Foremost, it concerns the EU,'' he added.

A Cyprus-flagged cargo ship, ''Able F'', coming from Italy had requested permission on Wednesday to enter the Turkish port of Mersin in southern Turkey to unload 16 containers, but the Turkish authorities declined to grant permission.

Turkey, an aspiring EU member, has to provide access to ships from EU countries, including the Republic of Cyprus, which Ankara does not recognize.

Invited to comment on Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's statement that Turkey refuses to implement the protocol concerning Cyprus, Mr. Pashiardis said that ''again the EU will have to answer to Mr. Erdogan's statements because it was an insulting statement by the Turkish premier, not against Cyprus but mainly against the EU as a whole and its members separately.''

Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman George Koumoutsakos, commenting on the incident, said Athens was informed about Turkey's refusal to allow the docking of the Cypriot-flagged ship on Wednesday afternoon by the Greek Embassy in Nicosia and press reports.

He also said that as soon as the incident became known, Greek Minister of Foreign Affairs Dora Bakoyianni telephoned her Cypriot counterpart George Iacovou.

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