"Turkey agrees to text of EU protocol - Customs union agreement reached but what it means for Cyprus unsure
By Stefanos Evripidou
THE European Commission and Turkey have agreed on the text of a protocol extending the country�s customs union to the 10 new European Union members, including Cyprus, a Turkish official said on Friday.
The EU expects Turkey to extend the accord to include Cyprus before it begins entry talks on October 3.
Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan was quoted in the Turkish press saying Cyprus would be included in the extension of the customs union. However, the Turkish press widely reported that a deal had been struck between Turkey and the Commission to exclude any mention in the protocol of opening Turkish ports and airports to Cypriot ships and planes. The reports also maintained that the document would not include a statement on the non-recognition of the Cyprus Republic, although Erdogan is expected to announce this during the official signing of the protocol.
Extension of the customs union to include Cyprus is highly sensitive in Turkey because it is seen by some officials as a de facto recognition of the Cyprus Republic.
�We have had negotiations on the text of the protocol. There is a text on which we agreed,� the Turkish official told reporters."
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