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Spokesman: Erdogan's statement could create conditions for solution
2003-01-02 15:57:10

Nicosia, Jan 2 (CNA) -- Government Spokesman Michalis Papapetrou believes that statements by Turkish leader Tayyip Erdogan on Cyprus could create the right conditions for a political settlement by the end of February, the timeframe set by the UN.

''Erdogan's remarks create preconditions for a solution in Cyprus by 28 February,'' Papapetrou told CNA, and reiterated the readiness of the Greek Cypriot side to work towards this direction.

Erdogan, leader of the ruling Justice and Development party, has called for a shake-up of Turkish policy on Cyprus and urged Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash to take into consideration the recent protests by Turkish Cypriots in occupied Cyprus calling for a solution on the basis of a UN proposal.|

The spokesman said Erdogan's statements directly and clearly cast doubt on Denktash.

''Essentially Erdogan sides with the Turkish Cypriot parties which oppose Denktash's policies and are out in the streets protesting against it,'' the spokesman added.

''We have to assess the situation very carefully,'' Papapetrou said.

Replying to questions, he said all indications are that the new Turkish government seems to be gaining the upper hand in its confrontation with the Turkish establishment.

''I am not in favour of following the Cyprus policy that has been followed for 30 or 40 years,'' Erdogan told a Turkish television station Wednesday, adding that the protests by 30,000 Turkish Cypriots cannot simply be sidelined.

The Turkish politician also said that if a decision in the direction of a solution is not reached by the end of February, then things will get harder. The UN has called on the two sides on the island intensify their efforts in the first two months of the year with a view at reaching a settlement and allowing a reunited Cyprus to sign its accession treaty in mid April for European Union membership.

CNA GS/MM/GP/2003
ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY

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