Balkans: December 28, 1999


Shadow boxing over Cyprus continues. A Turkish government spokesman is putting a new spin on a UN resolution, maintains that the extension of the UN security mandate in Cyprus is tantamount to an acknowledgement of "the existence of the Turkish Republic of North Cyprus." The TRNC, headed by Rauf Denktash, is the 40% of the island occupied by Turk troops. Only Turkey recognizes the TRNC. Ankara bases its new claim on the fact the resolution requires "approval of both Cypriot authorities" for certain troop actions. The Turks maintain this means the UN now recognizes two different states. of course the Greeks don't. The Greeks and most of the EU favor a "bi-zonal" Cypriot federation. What does the political rhetoric mean? It means the second round of proximity talks on Cyprus will begin in January.

Turkey cashiered another 23 military officers in early December for Islamic fundamentalist activities. The Turks have purged more than 700 officers for this reason since 1996.--Stephen V Cole


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