Dutch Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende has announced a compromise with Turkey on EU demands that the Turks recognize the Greek-led government of Cyprus before formally opening membership talks.
Mr. Balkanende, whose country holds the rotating EU presidency, spoke at the conclusion of an EU summit in Brussels. He said Turkey agreed to pledge in writing that before opening EU membership talks next October it will extend its existing customs accord with the union to the 10 new EU members, including Cyprus. This could be interpreted as indirect recognition of the internationally recognized Greek-led government of the island.
But Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan insisted the does not constitute recognition of Cyprus. Mr. Balkenende acknowledged that this does not constitute legal recognition but called it a sign of progress in that direction.
Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkish troops invaded the island.