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Turkey refuses to open ports, airports to Greek Cypriot
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08:27, September 04, 2009

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Turkey's chief European Union (EU) negotiator said here on Thursday that his country will not open its ports and airports to Greek Cypriot ships and planes until the bloc establishes trades ties with Turkish Cypriots.

Turkish State Minister and chief negotiator for EU talks Egemen Bagis also urged EU countries to live up to their commitments for the settlement of a dispute over Turkey letting the Greek Cypriot vessels using Turkish ports.

Bagis told reporters at Istanbul's Ataturk Airport upon his arrival from an official visit to Austria: "We are ready for a solution. And we may take any step including the opening of our ports but they also have to honor their commitments, which are about removing economic isolations imposed on the Turkish Cypriot people."

"The idea of letting Greek Cypriot ships and planes to use our harbors and airports is anything but sincere and credible unless EU countries started direct trade with Turkish Cyprus, and their planes landed on the Ercan Airport," Bagis said.

Bagis also criticized Greek Cypriot administration's move to cancel a meeting scheduled for Thursday between Cypriot leaders, who have been holding since September 2008 a series of talks to reunify the island.

"The first round of the peace talks are over and the second round was supposed to begin but Greek Cypriot side once again skipped. It is all very clear who wants a settlement and who wants to obstruct it," Bagis said.

The talks began in September 2008. The United Nations and European Union want to see progress this year, worried about Turkey's EU prospects and Turkish Cypriot elections in 2010.

Source: Xinhua

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