The Turkish Foreign Ministry on Friday denied a media report that Ankara had agreed with the European Union to open its ports to Greek Cypriot ships in a deal to advance its slow-moving EU accession process.
EU conditions opening new chapters in talks with Turkey with opening ports to Greek Cyprus.
Greek Cyprus joined the EU as a divided island when Greek Cypriots in the south rejected the UN reunification plan in twin referendums in 2004 even though the Turkish Cypriots in the north overwhelmingly supported it.
The Turkish broadcaster NTV had reported that the deal, which would initially involve the opening of a port in Istanbul or Izmir to Greek Cypriot vessels, could go into effect in the coming months if the Greek Cypriot government accepted it.
It did not specify a source for the report.
"There is no agreement as stated in the news. There has been news like this in the past," a foreign ministry official told Reuters news agency.
"Every rotating president finds the ports subject on their desk when they take over their duties and they may discuss how to solve this problem with the Commission, with member countries or us... But there is no agreement on this," he said.
Turkey started accession negotiations with the EU in 2005. 13 out of 35 chapters have been opened so far. Eight chapters remain frozen since 2006 due to Turkey's policy not to open its ports to Greek Cypriot vessels who blames EU of not fulfilling its promise to establish direct trade with Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC), though the Turkish Cypriots in the north overwhelmingly supported the UN reunification plan in twin referendums in 2004.
Turkish State Minister & Chief Negotiator for EU talks Egemen Bagis has also denied the news.
Upon questions of official Anadolu news agency, Bagis replied on Twitter on Friday, and said that the news about such a consensus between Turkey and the EU was "baseless" and "wrong".
Belgium has held the rotating presidency of the EU for the last six months. Hungary takes over on January 1.
EU officials said they had no information about any breakthrough in talks with Turkey.
Related news reports:Last Mod: 31 Aralık 2010, 14:25