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Turkey: No Quick Action on Opening Ports to Cyprus Ships


Turkey says it has no immediate plans to act on a European Union demand that it open its ports and airports to Greek Cypriot planes and ships.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Namik Tan said in Ankara there are no plans to quickly seek parliamentary ratification of the customs agreement Turkey signed last year with the 10 new EU members, including Cyprus.

Turkey does not recognize the internationally backed Greek-led Cyprus government and says it will not open its ports until the international community ends the isolation of the Turkish Cypriot-held part of the island.

Tuesday, a European Parliament foreign affairs committee warned Turkey that its continued refusal to recognize the Cyprus government could jeopardize talks on Turkey's entry to the European Union.

Meanwhile, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan again called on both sides on Cyprus to work toward a solution of the island's division.

He made the statement after talks in Ankara with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Mr. Annan's efforts to end the division of Cyprus failed two years ago when Turkish Cypriots approved his plan in a referendum, while the Greek Cypriots, in a simultaneous vote, overwhelmingly rejected it.

Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkish troops invaded the island in response to a coup by Greek Cypriots backed by the military government then in power in Athens.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and AP.

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