EU Minister accuses Greek Cyprus of blocking further chapter talks
ISTANBUL - The Associated Press
European Union Minister Egemen Bağış has accused Greek Cyprus of blocking critical chapters for Turkey while welcoming the decision to open a new area of discussion on Ankara’s membership. DHA photoEuropean Union Minister Egemen Bağış has accused Greek Cyprus of blocking critical chapters for Turkey while welcoming the decision to open a new area of discussion on Ankara’s membership.
The EU agreed this week to begin discussing regional policy with Turkey, the first talks in three years. That is one of dozens of chapters that would need to be settled before Turkey could join the union.
Bağış said in an interview with The Associated Press that slow progress is producing doubts in Turkey about whether the European Union will ever offer membership. “Of course we are very, very frustrated and sometimes I question the sincerity of some of the European decision makers,” he said.
Bağış said that a number of countries are still putting up roadblocks. He singled out Greek Cyprus, which is blocking numerous chapters amid its dispute with Turkey over the status of the northern part of the island. He expressed optimism about new talks to resolve the issue, but he said that Greek Cyprus was blocking critical chapters and argued that progress could benefit both sides. He cited the chapter on energy, noting that Turkey is a key transit country for energy supplies to Europe.
“One member state is hijacking the energy interests of 500 million Europeans just because they could,” he said. Despite frustration in Turkey, Bağış praised the European Union’s prescriptions for reform. He has often compared Brussels to a dietitian. “The fact that the dietitian itself is overweight or has a few clogged arteries or is even moody these days, doesn’t necessarily make the prescription bad,” he said.