NICOSIA, Sept. 30 (Xinhuanet) -- The Republic of Cyprus will continue to exist and be recognized, even if Turkey insists on not recognizing it as a state, President Tassos Papadopoulos said on Friday.
On the occasion of the 45th anniversary of Cyprus' independence, Papadopoulos said in a statement that the fact that Turkey does not recognize the Republic of Cyprus does not affect or decrease the prestige, the reliability or the legality of the Republic of Cyprus.
"Turkey, as the illegal invader and conqueror, has every reason not to recognize our state's existence ... fortunately, the existence and functioning of our state is not pending on the recognition of the Republic of Cyprus by Turkey," he said.
He said that during the deliberations on Turkey's accession negotiations, the Cyprus government got support of a large number of EU member states in order to set preconditions for Turkey, on which "we can now build and demand effectively the fulfillment of Turkey's obligations toward the EU, toward all member states, including Cyprus, from the beginning of Turkey's accession course."
Turkey's accession talks with the EU are due to start on Oct. 3 and the EU last week urged Turkey to recognize Cyprus and open its ports and airports to Cyprus.
In July, Turkey signed an agreement to widen its customs union with the EU to include Cyprus and nine other new EU members, but said its signature did not amount to recognition of the Cypriot government.
Cyprus, which gained independence from Britain in 1960, has been split into Greek Cypriot south and Turkish Cypriot north since 1974 when Turkish troops took control of the northern third following a failed coup seeking union with Greece.
Efforts by the international community to reunite the island have so far failed, and the south Cyprus joined the EU in May, 2004, leaving the northern Cyprus, only recognized by Turkey, outside the bloc. Enditem