German Chancellor Angela Merkel answers a question during a news conference with Cypriot President Demetris Christofias in Nicosia. Merkel was on a fleeting visit to the east Mediterranean island. Photo: Reuters
German Chancellor Angela Merkel answers a question during a news conference with Cypriot President Demetris Christofias in Nicosia. Merkel was on a fleeting visit to the east Mediterranean island. Photo: Reuters

Calls for better Turkey-Cyprus relations

By Time of article published Jan 11, 2011

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Nicosia - German Chancellor Angela Merkel urged Turkey on Tuesday to make progress on normalising relations with Cyprus and open its ports to traffic from the island.

Such a move, as required under a European Union agreement known as the Ankara protocol, is one of the main provisions Turkey must fulfil to join the EU.

The EU has long chided Turkey, which started membership talks in 2005, for failing to normalise relations with Greek Cypriots, who represent the divided island of Cyprus in the 27-member bloc.

After meeting with Greek Cypriot leader Demetris Christofias, Merkel said Turkey needed to show more willingness in the resolution of its dispute with Cyprus.

“You have shown great willingness to compromise that has unfortunately not been reciprocated by the other side,” she told Christofias at a news conference during the first visit of a German chancellor to Cyprus.

Cyprus was split in a Turkish invasion in 1974, triggered by a brief Greek-inspired coup. Only Ankara recognises the Turkish northern part of the island.

Reunification talks focused on re-linking the two disparate sides as a loose federation began in 2008 after decades of failed efforts and conflict, but many issues remain unresolved.

Merkel said Germany's experiences of reunification could be helpful when the negotiations between Cyprus and the northern part of the island were more advanced. - Reuters

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