TURKEY will carry out its threat to cease contact with the EU Presidency when Cyprus assumes the role on July 1, but will maintain ties with the European Commission, Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said after meeting EU officials yesterday.
EU candidate Turkey served notice last year that it would break off relations with the EU presidency during Cyprus’ six-month term unless there was progress in reunification talks between the Turkish Cypriots and Greek Cypriots.
“Our position on the presidency of the Greek Cypriots is clear. Today we have once more conveyed our position in the meeting,” Davutoglu told a jo int news conference with EU counterpart Catherine Ashton and Stefan Fule, the European Commissioner in charge of enlargement.
“The relations and contacts with EU will continue, but none of the ministries, institutions of Turkish Republic will be in contact with the EU presidency in any of the activities related to Greek Cypriot presidency.”
Turkey began formal entry negotiations for the European Un ion in 2005, a year after Cyprus was admitted.
Its bid for membership virtually has ground to a halt due to the intractable dispute over the divided island and opposition from core EU members Germany and France.
Turkey failed last year to open a single new chapter, or policy area, that candidate countries must complete to meet EU norms.
Out of 35 chapters, 17 are blocked either by Cyprus or France, 13 have been opened, one has been closed, and another four have yet to be opened.
The European Un ion wants Turkey to throw open its ports and airports to traffic from Cyprus to unfreeze some of the blocked chapters, but Turkey insists the European Un ion should end its embargo of the north at the same time.
The Cyprus dispute is a source of tension between fellow NATO members Greece and Turkey, and stakes were raised by a row over rights to hydrocarbon riches in the eastern Mediterranean following a discovery by Greek Cypriots last year.
Published on June 8, 2012