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Athens News Agency: News in English, 06-12-11

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From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] FM reiterates call for clear EU message to Turkey

  • [01] FM reiterates call for clear EU message to Turkey

    The need for the European Union to send Turkey a strong and clear message that reflected the EU's credibility was emphasised by Greek Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis on Monday, as EU foreign ministers met in Brussels to decide how they should respond to Turkey's refusal to implement a customs union agreement with member-state Cyprus.

    Ankara has since refused to open its ports and airports to traffic from Cyprus unless the EU opens first opens the way for direct trade with the Turkish-Cypriots in the occupied north of the island.

    Bakoyannis underlined that this message should make it clear that the EU was not shutting the door against Turkey, while at the same time ensuring that Turkey progressed toward accession in accordance with the terms and conditions set by the EU and its member-states.

    Regarding a proposal for a review clause setting a new deadline for Turkey to comply with EU demands, backed by Greece, Cyprus and Austria, Bakoyannis clarified that this was not seen as a way of punishing that country, while noting that the European Commission's proposal to suspend talks on eight of the 35 chapters in the accession negotiations was not regarded by Athens as sufficient for sending a clear message to Ankara.

    The Greek minister said that the EU's decisions should take into account aspects concerning the normalisation of Turkey's relations with the Cyprus Republic, whose government Ankara still refuses to recognise, while pointing out that the EU was asked to judge a candidate-member, for which there should be solidarity between the member-states.

    In his own address to the meeting, however, European Commissioner for enlargement Olli Rehn said that he did not support the idea of a review clause or a deadline for re-evaluating Turkey's compliance with customs union, while he underlined the need to ratify the Community regulation for direct trade with Turkish Cypriots.

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