Turkey blocks Greek Cypriot police presence in Kosovo

Turkey yesterday dismissed claims that it is against NATO-European Union cooperation in Kosovo, but said Greek Cypriot participation in a multinational force in Kosovo is not included in this cooperation. Turkey prepares to take over the command of the force on May 29.

A high-level diplomat told the Turkish Daily News that the Greek Cypriot government expressed its desire to participate in the force with a special police team.

“Our expectation is to act within the framework of the agreements between the EU and NATO. We are not against NATO-EU cooperation in Kosovo,” Foreign Ministry Spokesman Levent Bilman stated at a press conference yesterday. Bilman said that Greek Cyprus does not represent the whole island. Cyprus has been divided since 1974 following Turkish intervention on the island.

The mentioned framework was set up in 2002, after lengthy negotiations between Turkey and the EU. “We don’t want to expand this cooperation,” Bilman added.

The United Nations will hand over the monitoring and policing mechanism to the EU later this year if the Security Council approves a UN plan granting Kosovo independence. Some 1,500 EU staff will work alongside NATO’s 16,000-plus peacekeepers.

Turkey has 400 soldiers in the NATO-led Kosovo Force, or KFOR, and this number will increase to 700 in a few days, due to Turkey’s taking over the command in the southern region of Kosovo.
Source: Financial Times

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