Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul said in a television interview on Sunday, referring to the blueprint prepared by United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan: "The plan is still valid as far as we are concerned."
 
 

Turkey's refusal to acknowledge the divided island's internationally recognised Greek administration almost scuttled last week's European Union (EU) summit in Brussels when it was presented as a pre-condition for Turkey's membership talks to get under way.

 

Turkey, which at one point threatened to walk out of the summit, is the only country not to recognise EU-member Cyprus and the only one to recognise the breakaway Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus.

 

Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkey regained its northern third after an ultranationalist Greek Cypriot coup, engineered by the military government that then ruled Athens to unite the island with Greece.

 

Ankara refuses to recognise the Greek administration until the question of the island's division is settled.


Greeks reject plan
 

Gul said he hoped for intensified efforts for a lasting solution to the problem before 3 October 2005, when membership negotiations are scheduled to begin between Turkey and the EU.

 

Turks in northern Cyprus were
excluded Cyprus joined the EU

The Annan plan was submitted by separate referendums to the two communities of the island on 24 April in hopes of bringing a unified Cyprus into the EU fold.

 

It was massively rejected by the Greeks and endorsed by the Turks, who were left out in the cold when Cyprus joined the European bloc on 1 May.

 

Gul reiterated that the formula found in Brussels to break the deadlock - a written commitment that Turkey will extend its 1963 association agreement with the EU to cover the 10 new member countries, including Cyprus - does not constitute recognition.

 

"We signed nothing that implies direct or indirect recognition of the Greek-Cypriot party," he said.