- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 26, 2000

Lecturing Turkey

The Cypriot ambassador has taken her complaints against Turkey on the road, lecturing her Mediterranean neighbor on how it should behave if it wants to join the European Union.

"Turkey has to realize that the European course she has embarked upon will not be easy," said Ambassador Erato Kozakou-Marcoullis, referring to the European Union's invitation for Turkey to begin membership talks. Cyprus is also preparing for EU membership.

"[Turkey] has to realize that being granted [candidate] status is not a bonus for free, but it entails costs and obligations."

Turkish Ambassador Baki Ilkin refused to respond directly to Mrs. Kozakou-Marcoullis because his country does not recognize her government as the legitimate representative of the Turkish-Cypriot community on Cyprus.

"I will not enter into a debate with the Greek-Cypriot representative," Mr. Ilkin told Embassy Row. "Turkey has a longstanding foreign policy. Turkey needs no lecturing from anyone."

Mrs. Kozakou-Marcoullis, in a speech earlier this month at the University of Michigan, predicted the outcome of Turkey's quest for EU membership "will depend on her willingness to effect the necessary changes in her domestic and international policies and conduct."

"Such changes are yet to be seen, and undoubtedly her Cyprus policies and conduct will be the ultimate test of her preparedness [for the EU]," she added.

Turkey is the only nation to have diplomatic relations with the breakaway Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, while the Greek-Cypriot administration is the internationally recognized government of Cyprus.

The Greek-Cypriot government blames Turkey, which has more than 30,000 troops in Northern Cyprus, for the continued division of the island. Turkey says its soldiers are there to protect Turkish-Cypriots.

Mrs. Kozakou-Marcoullis said last month's U.N.-sponsored talks between intermediaries for the Greek-Cypriot and Turkish-Cypriot sides yielded hopeful signs, although leaders of the two communities are not yet meeting face to face.

"A new potential exists that could definitely turn things around, provided that Turkey grasps the new opportunities for a more European outlook that will bring her policies in line with those of her prospective partners in Europe," she said.

Mrs. Kozakou-Marcoullis said the recent improvement in Greek-Turkish relations has not softened Turkey's position on Cyprus.

"We regret the fact that despite the emergence of this new climate, the Turkish side has maintained its negative attitude on Cyprus, which is at odds with the international consensus regarding a solution."

"It is high time," she added, "that Turkey seriously engage in actions that would promote a speedy solution to the Cyprus problem."

Rebuilding in Nairobi

The U.S. Embassy in Kenya yesterday announced a grant of $300 million to the owners of buildings destroyed in the bombing of the American diplomatic mission.

The embassy said the money will pay for work on 60 damaged buildings that include private as well as government structures.

The money will be distributed through the U.S. Agency for International Development.

The United States has given more than $42 million to aid the victims of the Aug. 7, 1998, bombing in Nairobi that killed 213 persons and wounded more than 5,000.

Most casualties were local people, while 12 of the dead were Americans.

An almost simultaneous attack in Tanzania killed 11 persons and injured more than 70 outside the U.S. Embassy in Dar es Salaam.

Bolivian recovers

Bolivian President Hugo Banzer was released yesterday from Walter Reed Army Hospital here where he was undergoing treatment for severe lower back pain.

The Bolivian Embassy said Mr. Banzer, 74, is expected to return to the Bolivian capital, La Paz, tomorrow.

Mr. Banzer arrived in Washington eight days ago for treatment of a pain caused by a problem with his sciatic nerves, the embassy said.

Doctors treated his pain without surgery and "completely" ended the problem, a presidential spokesman told reporters in La Paz.

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