The start date for talks on Turkey joining the EU remains in doubt, amid continuing rumblings over Cyprus. Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn says October 3rd is still official but, with MEPs in Brussels, he reiterated that Turkey must honour a customs protocol it signed in July and open its ports to Greek Cypriot vessels:“We expect Turkey to fully implement the protocol in a non-discriminatory manner, which means allowing for the complete free movement of goods with all member States, including Cyprus.” Turkey alone recognises a self-declared Turkish Cypriot state, but not the Greek Cypriot government in Nicosia, which represents the whole of the island in the EU. Foreign minister George Iacovou told EuroNews the EU’s response to a Turkish declaration of non-recognition which accompanied its extension of the EU customs protocol was also in suspense: “I had said that we will demand bankable guarantees of implementation before we will give our accord for both the statement and the negotiating framework for Turkey.” Cyprus has been partitioned since 1974. Ankara and the north accepted a UN peace plan last year; the Greek Cypriots rejected it. Turkey says it has fulfilled all the criteria it was asked to to begin the EU accession process, and will make no more concessions.
Uncertain EU enlargement future revolves on Mediterranean island