The diplomatic row over Turkish recognition of Cyprus has flared up again – with France’s prime minister insisting Ankara should recognise the Mediterranean island before talks on joining the European Union can open.
Following Dominic de Villepin’s remarks, a Turkish government source said Turkey would never accept such a pre-condition to entry negotiations.
Last week Turkey signed a key EU protocol on customs but issued a declaration stating that this did not amount to recognition of Cyprus.
The Greek Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis has postponed a trip to Turkey until after the start of accession talks.
A Greek diplomatic source said delaying the visit would make it less complicated.
The two countries – historic enemies – have taken huge strides in improving relations over the past few years but remain deeply divided over Cyprus.
Turkey is the only nation to recognise the self-proclaimed and Turkish-dominated state on the north of the island.
The EU regards the Greek Cypriot government in the south as the only legitimate authority.