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Ankara must help Cyprus solution, says Turkish Cypriot politician
2002-08-14 07:00:14

by Kyriakos Tsioupras-- London, Aug 14 (CNA) -- A Turkish Cypriot politician, Mustafa Akinci, has called on Ankara to implement the constitutional reforms it has adopted and help resolve the Cyprus question, if it wants to secure a date for the start of accession negotiations with the European Union.

"I cannot imagine a situation in which Turkey is edging closer to the European Union and Greco-Turkish ties are developing further but the Cyprus problem remains unresolved," Akinci told London Greek Radio (LGR) in an interview.|

This, he said, cannot continue and added "everybody will understand the need to solve the problem."

Akinci, former leader of the Turkish Cypriot Communal Liberation Party and an advocate of rapprochement between Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots, said the reforms the Turkish National Assembly has adopted can lead to a definite date for the start of membership talks with the EU.

He pointed out, however, that this can take place provided the adopted reforms are implemented and Ankara contributes to a Cyprus settlement so that a reunited Cyprus can join the EU.

Turkey has been seeking to secure a fixed date for accession negotiations, saying it cannot be the only candidate country without this prospect. The EU says that Turkey will be judged by the same criteria as all other candidate countries and it has to meet the Copenhagen criteria, relating to human rights issues, before membership talks can begin.

Cyprus expects to be invited at the December EU summit to join the EU along with another nine applicant countries.

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