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EU, Turkey Reach Compromise on Accession

Dutch Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende has confirmed a compromise with Turkey on EU demands that the Turks recognize the Greek-led government of Cyprus before formally opening membership talks.

Mr. Balkanende, whose country holds the rotating EU presidency, made the announcement at the conclusion of an EU summit in Brussels.

Earlier, EU officials told reporters Turkey agreed to pledge in writing that before opening EU membership talks next October it will extend its existing customs accord with the union to the 10 new EU members, including Cyprus. This amounts to indirect recognition of the internationally recognized Greek-led government of the island.

Turkey had previously ruled out any recognition of the Cyprus government and called for EU membership talks without conditions.

Cyprus has been divided between separate Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot administrations since 1974, but only Turkey recognizes the self-declared Turkish state in northern Cyprus.