European Union officials say they are confident they will resolve a dispute over Turkey before a summit next week to discuss entry talks with Ankara. The row centres on Turkey’s refusal to recognise Cyprus. Nicosia has threatened to veto the start of accession negotiations unless it wins full recognition. Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said his country will not recognise Cyprus, maintaining that the issue must wait until after the summit.
Many in the EU are wary of admitting Turkey, a Muslim country of 70 million people, because of concerns over implementation of EU law, freedom of religion and the consequences for the European labour market. France says the EU must foresee “another option” if talks fail and Austria is calling for a “privileged partnership” – an idea fiercely rejected by Ankara. The Netherlands, which currently holds the bloc’s rotating presidency, says Turkey must be given a fair chance at entry talks.