ERDOGAN ASKS MERKEL TO APOLOGISE FOR CYPRUS REMARKS
- Published:15 Ocak 2011, Cumartesi
- Updated:19 Ocak 2011, Çarşamba
Turkey had accused Merkel of bias on the issue during her visit to the Greek Cypriot side of the island this week. After meeting Greek Cypriot leader Demetris Christofias, she said Turkey needed to show more willingness in the resolution of the dispute and that the Cypriot government's readiness to compromise had not been reciprocated by the other side.
Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan called on Friday for German Chancellor Angela Merkel to apologise after she blamed Turkish Cypriots for an impasse in reunification talks on the Mediterranean island of Cyprus. The division of Cyprus is a key obstacle in Turkey's bid for European Union membership, and Turkish leaders accuse some EU states of using the issue to exclude Turkey.
"These comments and attitudes do not give the impression of a leader who is far-sighted and visionary," Erdogan told regional leaders of his ruling AK Party. "We expect Merkel to apologise to the Turkish side, which has shown all kinds of sacrifice for agreement on the island," he said. Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy have voiced reservations about granting Turkey EU membership. The EU has long chided Turkey, which started membership talks in 2005, for failing to normalise relations with Greek Cypriots who represent Cyprus in the 27-member bloc.
The EU wants Turkey to fulfil a commitment to open its ports and airports to traffic from Cyprus. Turkey wants the EU to end its embargo of the Turkish north of the island at the same time.
Reunification talks focused on linking the two sides as a loose federation began in 2008 after decades of failed efforts and conflict. The Greek Cypriots had rejected a U.N. formula for reunification in 2004.