Turkey refuses to open its ports and airports to Greek Cypriot ships and planes until negotiations on the status of the war-divided island have concluded, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu said Friday.Under a customs agreement with the European Union, which Turkey is struggling to join, Ankara must extend a trade protocol to the 10 nations that joined the bloc in 2004, including Greek Cyprus, by the end of this year.
But Turkey does not recognize the Greek Cypriot government and refuses to open its ports to them unless the EU makes good on a promise to break the economic isolation of Turkish Cyprus.
"Recognizing the Greek Cypriots without solving the Cyprus question is not possible for us," Davutoğlu told media and experts at a conference in Brussels. The Greek Cypriot government, he said, wants "to force Turkey to recognize Greek Cyprus, which we will not do."
In 2004, a U.N.-backed reunification plan was scrapped after being rejected in a referendum by Greek Cypriots but backed by the Turkish Cypriots. New U.N.-brokered efforts to resolve the standoff are progressing slowly. The United Nations is eager to step up the pace for a Cyprus solution, but little progress was made during more than 40 meetings in the first phase of talks. The two have since returned to the negotiating table in a bid to bridge differences over power sharing and governance before touching on the more prickly issues of territory and security.