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Russia: Turkey Says Change Of Power Balance In Cypress Unacceptable

Ankara, 7 January 1997 (RFE/RL) - A top Turkish official says Turkey will not accept a change in the balance of power on Cyprus and threatened to merge with the northern part of the island.

Islamic Prime Minister Necmettin Erbakan told his Welfare Party deputies today that Cyprus cannot be allowed to unite with Greece, whether it's done through the European Union or by other means.

He said Turkey would not allow it and such a move would lead to northern Cyprus' integration with Turkey.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Omer Akbel told a news conference Turkey would "take the necessary action" to prevent a change of the power balance on Cyprus. He did not elaborate.

Turkey was angered by a Greek Cypriot government decision to buy Russian surface-to-air missiles. Turkey says the missiles pose a threat to its territory.

Turkey is also strongly opposed to Cyprus' integration into the European Union, saying the Greek Cypriot government does not represent the whole island. Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkey sent in troops to protect the island's Turkish minority in the northern part.