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25 October, 1997
Greece and Turkey could settle their own differences and it would be better if they were left alone to do so, Turkish Deputy Premier Bulent Ecevit said in a televised interview Thursday night.
In an obvious reference to Washington, Mr. Ecevit told the correspondent of a private Greek television station that "if the world leaves us alone, then the two sides may come to agreement and establish close co-operation".
Mr. Ecevit told a reporter from the TV station "Mega" that Turkey was "concerned and anxious" over the "rapid armament" of the Greek Cypriot side, claiming that he did not find convincing the Cypriot government's argument that it was boosting its self-defense.
Turkey, he said, remained firm in its decision "not to allow the transport" through Turkish territorial waters or airspace of Russian-made S-300 anti-aircraft missiles to the Republic of Cyprus.
Mr. Ecevit warned that if Cyprus went ahead with the deployment of the missiles, which he claimed posed a threat to Turkish, Israeli and Turkish Cypriot security, and if the "door remains open" for Cyprus' accession to the European Union, then Ankara would strengthen its relations and co-operation with the self-styled Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus - recognized only by Turkey -and proceed with specific counter-measures.
"Naturally, we would have to increase our own military presence on the island," he added.
Referring to the Aegean, he said that Turkey considers the so-called "Aegean matter" a unified series of issues, including territorial waters, the continental shelf, airspace and militarization of the Dodecanese despite international agreements.
"Such as complex matter can only be resolved through negotiations between interested parties. The Madrid communique reminds us that the complex problem of the Aegean must be dealt with as a whole," he said.
Source: Athens News Agency