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Turkey uneasy with France seeking base in Cyprus 4 août 2006

Posted by Acturca in France, South East Europe / Europe du Sud-Est, Turkey / Turquie, Turkey-EU / Turquie-UE.
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The New Anatolian (Turkey)

03 August 2006, Ankara

Turkey expressed its uneasiness on Wednesday over France’s talks with the Greek Cypriot administration to obtain a long-term military base in the south of the island.

Foreign Ministry spokesperson Namik Tan referred to international agreements from 1960 which made Turkey, Greece and Britain « guarantor states » for Cyprus, and underlined that Ankara is closely following developments in view of rights derived from that.

« As you know, security issues on Cyprus are based on international agreements. Added to which the Greek Cypriot administration can’t make commitments on behalf of the whole island. We hope that all of those involved will act responsibly regarding this very sensitive issue, » Tan said at a weekly press conference.

Turkish sources expressed their uneasiness to The New Anatolian yesterday and stressed that Ankara’s expectations of European Union countries and other important global actors are that they contribute to a comprehensive settlement on Cyprus, not further complicate the situation by making new agreements with the Greek Cypriot administration that will send them the wrong message.

Cyprus has been divided between a Greek Cypriot-controlled south and a Turkish Cypriot-controlled north since 1974, when Turkey, as a guarantor power, intervened following a military coup by Greek Cypriot ultranationalists aiming to unite with Greece.

Only the Greek Cypriot administration joined the EU in 2004 following a failed referendum on an internationally backed peace plan, which was approved by Turkish Cypriots but overwhelmingly rejected by the Greek Cypriots. Both sides would have had to accept the reunification plan in order for the whole island to join the EU.

France-Greek Cypriot talks about military base

According to reports in the Greek Cypriot press, France and the Greek Cypriot administration are close to signing a bilateral military agreement that would involve cooperation in a number of areas, including French use of the Andreas Papandreou Airbase in Paphos.

The issue was part of discussions late last month between French Defense Minister Michele Alliot-Marie and Greek Cypriot President Tassos Papadopoulos.

The final details are expected to be worked out by the autumn.

The military cooperation agreement is set to include the use of military facilities, technical support, as well as the education and training of national guardsmen in France. It could also include joint military exercises.


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