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    EU ambassadors finalize declaration on Turkey's stance over Cyprus

    Hürriyet Haber
    20.09.2005 - 09:57 | Son Güncelleme:

    A solution over how to respond to Turkey's refusal to recognize new Cyprus has been found. European ambassadors agreed on a text of the declaration in Brussels on Monday, finally removing the last obstacle before the start of accession talks scheduled to start on October 3. This has been a sticky point for Turkey with the EU, as Turkey refused to recognize the EU member state, which has been slated by members of the bloc as "not being in the spirit of a country wanting to join the club."

    "The deal is done, the text of the declaration has been agreed upon," said a diplomat from Britain, which holds the EU's rotating presidency.

    The declaration that was being debated by 25 EU nations will accompany the negotiating mandate which is to be presented to Turkey at the start of its accession talks on October 3.

    The language is not said to be too tough on Ankara for fear that it may damage the talks. An earlier draft compromise from Britain read: "Recognition of all member states is a necessary component of the accession process."

    Turkey had refused in July to recognize Cyprus, which then became a sticking point of contention within the EU. However, Turkey did extend its customs union deal with the bloc to all new member states including Cyprus in July 2005. Although, Ankara has failed to open its ports to Cyprus.

    The EU declaration looks to require that Turkey open its ports to Cyprus in 2006. The British draft of the EU's "counter-declaration" called on Turkey to remove "all obstacles to the free movement of goods, including the restrictions on means of transport".

    Turkey has said that it would only recognise Cyprus after a broad international agreement, possibly sponsored by the United Nations, to end the division of the island.

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