Bosnia surprised by Turkish anger over ties with Cyprus

SARAJEVO, Feb 28, 2000 -- (AFP) Bosnian authorities were surprised by Turkey's anger over the establishment of diplomatic ties between Bosnia-Herzegovina and Cyprus, media reported here Sunday.

Bosnian Foreign Minister Jadranko Prlic told a Sarajevo daily he did not understand why diplomatic ties between Bosnia and Cyprus should be a problem since "all the European Union countries have established diplomatic relations with that state."

"We know that Cyprus is a painful issue for Turkey, but our diplomacy will not be a hostage of someone's interests," Prlic told Oslobodjenje daily.

Prlic's Turkish counterpart Ismail Cem on Saturday warned Bosnia and Macedonia over their plans to open embassies in the internationally recognized Greek-Cypriot side of Cyprus instead of in the breakaway Turkish north.

An official protest note from Turkey has not been received yet, a Bosnian foreign ministry spokesman said.

Diplomatic ties between Sarajevo and Cyprus were established in February, following a decision by Bosnia's tripartite presidency reached in October 1999.

Cyprus has been divided since Turkey invaded and occupied the northern third in 1974 following a coup in Nicosia aimed at uniting the island with Greece.

Turkish-Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash declared the breakway Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus in 1983 but it is recognized only by Ankara.

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