Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos expressed satisfaction on Tuesday with the European Union's counterstatement on Turkey which will pave the way for the start of accession talks with Ankara on Oct. 3.
Speaking to reporters at Larnaca Airport on arrival from New York, where he addressed the UN General Assembly, Papadopoulos said that main aims of Cyprus concerning the counterstatement have been fulfilled.
Turkey met its last obligation before accession talks with the EU when it in July extended its customs union protocol with the bloc to all new member states, including Cyprus.
But at the same time, Ankara issued a declaration saying it refused to recognize the Greek Cypriot government which joined the EU in May last year as representative of the whole island.
Ambassadors from 25 EU nations reached an agreement in Brussels on Tuesday on the EU's response to Turkey's refusal to recognize the EU member Cyprus, Cyprus News Agency (CNA) reported.
The counterstatement says Turkey's declaration has no legal effect on its obligations, calls on Ankara to fully implement the protocol, creates a mechanism to monitor its implementation in 2006, notes that Turkey will have consequences if it does not fully implement it, makes clear that the EU recognizes only the Republic of Cyprus, and points out the importance of Turkey recognizing the Republic of Cyprus and the necessity to normalize Turkey's relations with all EU member states the soonest possible.
Papadopoulos said that it was necessary to fully implement the protocol, which held a "special interest" for Cyprus, since it would mean opening Turkish ports and airports to Cypriot vessels and aircraft.
The Cyprus government had been demanding strong words in the counter-declaration from the EU, which Nicosia said should envisage deadlines for Ankara to make progress in recognizing the Greek Cypriot government.
Cyprus has been divided into the Turkish-Cypriot north and the Greek-Cypriot south since 1974, when Turkish troops entered north of the island after a failed Greek-Cypriot coup seeking union with Greece.
The Turkish Cypriot breakaway state in the north of the Mediterranean island is recognized only by Ankara.