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19 August, 1997
Foreign Deputy Minister Yiannos Kranidiotis warned Ankara yesterday against continuing what he called its "policy of blackmail" on the Cyprus issue, stressing that this policy along with its refusal to cooperate on the 23-year-old problem would harm Turkey 's hopes of joining Europe.
In an interview published yesterday in the Athens daily "Ta Nea", the Greek Deputy Minister contended that the breakdown of direct talks in Switzerland last week between Cypriot President Glafcos Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash was not only the responsibility of the latter, but of the Turkish government as well.
"It's very unfortunate that Denktash has found a sympathizer within the Turkish government in the person of Bulent Ecevit. These two supporters of pan-Turkish nationalism are not interested in seeking a just solution to the Cyprus issue, but in fully incorporating occupied Cypriot territory into Turkey."
According to Mr. Kranidiotis, at the UN-sponsored talks near Montreux last week the Turkish side's goal was to stall the process of Cyprus' accession to the European Union as well as the installation of Russian-made S-300 missiles in Cyprus.
He stressed that the Cypriot government had come to the negotiating table in a "constructive mood". "I believe that both Cyprus and Greece, with their consistent stance, have already made the right impression. The international community knows which side is in the right and which is acting unjustly. Therefore, it is up to (the international community) to attribute the blame for the deadlock to the Turkish side and not to equate the victimizer with the victim," emphasized the Deputy Minister.
Mr. Kranidiotis said the text presented at the talks by UN mediator Diego Cordovez contained several weak points, although it nevertheless "confirmed the need for the unified and indivisible sovereignty of the Cypriot Federation".
"This I believe is a positive and significant development in favor of our positions and our policy," he added.
With regard to the role of US presidential envoy on the Cyprus issue Richard Holbrooke, the Deputy Minister noted:
"Mr. Holbrooke's role should be auxiliary to that of the United Nations. We expect Mr. Holbrooke to exercise his influence on the Turkish side so that it cooperates in the international effort to solve the Cyprus issue based on international principles. "
Mr. Kranidiotis also referred to Ankara's inability to realize that Cyprus' course towards EU membership is an EU decision, and that Turkey, a third country, "has no right to attempt to overturn it".
He repeated a statement by Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos, according to which "Greece would be willing to accept an improvement of Turkey's relations with the EU, if the former cooperates in finding a just and viable solution and ends its aggressive policy against Greece".
Finally, he stressed that Turkish intransigence on the Cyprus issue will adversely affect the climate which the Madrid joint communique attempts to promote.
Mr. Kranditiotis said he believes that the crucial period for the Cyprus issue will be 1998, following the presidential elections in Cyprus and the beginning of negotiations for the island republic's accession to the European Union.
In an announcement yesterday, the foreign ministry called for continual vigilance and opposition to Turkish intransigence on the part of Greek and Cypriot political parties and of Greek communities around the world.
Greece, the announcement stated, would be making diplomatic approaches to the United Nations Secretary General, all members of the UN Security Council and the European Union. Athens has also begun a briefing campaign of governments and media around the world. These moves, the foreign ministry added, were aimed at having the international community adopt positions that would permit the good services of the UN Secretary General to bear results and to deal with Turkish intransigence "so that the two communities in the island republic may live in harmony within the framework of a bi-communal and bi-zonal federation, according to UN resolutions and the summit agreements of 1977 and 1979".
Source: Athens News Agency