Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan (R) attends a joint press conference with visiting German Chancellor Angela Merkel after their meeting in Ankara, Turkey, Feb. 25, 2013. (Xinhua/Li Ming) Visiting German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Monday pressed Ankara to open its ports and airports to ships and planes from Cyprus, while expressing her support for reviving the stalled accession talks between Turkey and the EU.
During a joint press conference with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Merkel said she wants to see a new chapter in Turkey's negotiations with the 27-nation bloc, while calling on Turkey to open its ports and airports to ships and planes from Cyprus.
Turkey launched its formal EU accession talks in 2005, but its ambition of joining the bloc have been frustrated in recent years due to its dispute with Cyprus and opposition from other EU member states.
The island state of Cyprus has been divided by a military buffer zone since 1974, when Turkish forces occupied the north after a Greek-led coup attempted to make the land part of Greece.
Erdogan, for his part, said he had asked Merkel for support to Turkey's negotiations with the EU, adding that Turkey was ready to contribute to the solution to the dispute over the Cyprus Island if the new leadership of Cyprus is willing for reunification.