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Spokesman: Cyprus backs Turkey's accession course
2002-10-11 08:25:58

Nicosia, Oct 11 (CNA) -- The Cyprus government has expressed support for Turkey's accession course to the European Union, provided Ankara fulfills its obligations to the EU.

''We believe that Turkey should be encouraged by being given a date for the start of accession negotiations, provided that such a move signifies that Ankara will meet its obligations towards the EU, in particular fulfill the political criteria relating to Cyprus,'' Government Spokesman Michalis Papapetrou has said.|

The spokesman was commenting on a report in a Turkish daily saying that Greek Foreign Minister George Papandreou had suggested to his Turkish counterpart Sukru Sina Gurel not to react in a strong manner to the European Commission progress report that did not recommend the start of membership talks with Turkey.

Meanwhile, in Brussels a spokesman for the Commission has made it clear that the US, which had advocated strongly Turkey's case with the EU, has no role to play in EU decisions with regard to enlargement or any other matter.

EU senior officials have urged Turkey not to misinterpret their recommendations in the report, stressing that they are not criticising Turkey and that they recognise the great strides Ankara has made with the recent approval of constitutional reforms.

Turkey has warned of a permanent division in Cyprus if the EU accepts the Republic in its ranks prior to a political settlement.

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