Turkish Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit has warned the European Union to beware of "corruption and money-laundering" in Cyprus, a leading candidate for EU membership. "Corruption and money-laundering are practiced in that country. Southern Cyprus is a risk for the security of the region," Ecevit charged late Sunday, September 30, on CNN-Turk TV.
"In the current atmosphere of a global wave of terrorism, our European friends who want to accept Cyprus within their fold should take into consideration this kind of activity by the Greek Cypriot administration." He accused Nicosia of posing "a danger" to "the entire world".
The Cyprus government last month dismissed charges by a former CIA director that the island was a haven for the dirty money of Islamic militant Usama Bin Ladin, wanted by Washington for the terror attacks on New York and Washington.
The IMF, the G8's Financial Action Task Force, the EU, the Council of Europe and OECD have all given Cyprus a clean bill of health, despite persistent charges of money-laundering on the divided island.
Greek Cypriot authorities argue that any illegal Muslim fundamentalist activity must be linked to Islamic banks in the Turkish-controlled north of the island. Cyprus was Monday marking the 41st anniversary of independence from British rule. The island has been split since Turkish troops invaded the northern third in 1974 after a Greek-engineered coup in Nicosia that was short-lived. ― (AFP, Ankara)
© Agence France Presse 2001
© 2001 Mena Report (www.menareport.com )