Turkey urges peace progress in Cyprus issue

21:30, October 12, 2010      

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Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu Tuesday urged for more progress in finding a peaceful solution to the Cyprus issue, a major obstacle in Turkey's bid to join the European Union (EU).

Turkey had suggested on holding a peace conference involving all parties within the next few months but had not received a response, Davutoglu told a joint press conference with visiting French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner.

He said he hopes the UN-sponsored peace talks would solve the Cyprus issue and open the path for Turkey-EU relations.

Turkey became an EU candidate country in December 1999 and launched accession talks with the bloc in October 2005, but some negotiating areas were frozen because it refuses to open ports to the Greek Cypriot government, a member state of the EU.

Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkey militarily intervened and occupied the north of the island following a coup by a group of Greek officers. The politically isolated northern part of Cyprus, or the self-claimed Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, is only recognized by Turkey.

Leaders of Cyprus' two rival communities restarted direct peace talks in 2008 under the UN auspices, trying to reunited the island divided since 1974 under a federal structure, But have so far failed to make any breakthrough.

Turkey could make a great progress in the EU accession process if such political obstacles as the Cyprus issue were removed, said Davutoglu.

He reiterated that full membership of EU was a strategic target for Turkey.

French and German leaders have argued Turkey should be granted some forms of partnership with the EU instead of full membership.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy would pay a visit to Turkey in the beginning of 2011, Davutoglu and Kouchner told reporters.

Source: Xinhua


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