Merkel urges Ankara to act on Cyprus ports dispute
German Chancellor Angela Merkel yesterday urged Turkey to open its ports and airports to traffic from European Union member Greek Cyprus, stressing that this dispute between the EU and Turkey is blocking Ankara's membership path. Merkel, speaking to Turkish reporters in Berlin, said Turkey must implement the Ankara protocol, which the EU says makes it a legal obligation for Turkey to open its ports and airports to Greek Cypriot vessels. "We have to achieve progress in this area," Merkel said, adding that she will visit Greek Cyprus early next year to help speed up a solution. Stressing that Germany and Turkey enjoy friendly relations, she said that German President Christian Wulff's recent visit to Turkey had helped cement these ties. Merkel called Turkey a friend of Germany, saying that the two countries could learn much from each other. The German leader also said Turkey, a dynamic country with a young population, is a significant political and economic partner and important ally in the G-20, NATO and the Middle East.