EU express ‘sadness’ over Turkey’s decision

EU express ‘sadness’ over Turkey’s decision

EU express ‘sadness’ over Turkey’s decision

AP photo

EU foreign ministers have expressed “sadness” at Turkey’s threat to freeze relations during Greek Cyprus’ upcoming term presidency.

Foreign ministers from the bloc debated the matter at a Dec. 5 meeting that came ahead of an EU summit scheduled to take place from tomorrow until Dec. 9 in Brussels.

The Greek Cypriot delegation reportedly put pressure on member states to issue a strong reaction to Turkey’s threat to freeze relations during Greek Cyprus’ term presidency, which will begin in June 2012.
Ministers, however, only decided to express “sadness” at Turkey’s earlier statements.

Greek Cyprus’ decision last month to veto the Turkish foreign minister’s participation in a bloc-wide meeting on Syria has weakened the country’s diplomacy, according to Turkish diplomatic sources.
The sources also said the EU did not want to further antagonize Ankara by endorsing strong wording in an EU statement that will be released following a summit of the union’s heads of state slated for June 2012.

In their decision, the EU foreign ministers said they felt sadness over Turkey’s failure to fulfill obligations stemming from its EU accession process, including opening ports to Greek Cypriot shipping, Anatolia news agency reported yesterday.

The foreign ministers said Turkey had not made any progress in normalizing relations with Greek Cyprus and that they expected progress in the matter without further delays.

The ministers also told the EU Commission to observe Turkey’s approach to the Greek Cypriots and inform the member states on developments. The foreign ministers’ decision also said they expected Turkey’s active contributions to a solution in Cyprus under the auspices of the United Nations.

France’s insistence on word ‘accession’

The word “accession” was used 11 times in preparation for Croatia’s membership in mid-2013, five times for Iceland who began entry negotiations a year ago, twice for Montenegro, which is waiting for a date from the EU, and once for Albania and Serbia, who are not yet candidates in the enlargement decisions of the foreign ministers.

The word “accession,” however, was not used for Turkey as France has reportedly made special efforts to ensure the word is not used when Turkey is mentioned in EU documents.