EU accession talks with Turkey will not be frozen, but will move more slowly in view of Ankara’s failure to open its ports to ships from Cyprus. This was the conclusion after current EU president Finland failed to achieve a breakthrough in the Turkey-Cyprus row. The EU and Mediterranean region foreign ministers were meeting in Tampere.
Turkey’s Abdullah Gul: “The problem now is a political problem, not a technical problem any more – it’s well-known. As a political problem, it can fall under the UN umbrella. Of course, the Finnish presidency, with good will, did everything and really worked hard, and we appreciate their efforts.”
Missing a December 6th deadline could mean at least partial suspension of Turkey’s membership talks launched last year. After separate meetings with the foreign ministers of Turkey and Cyprus, Finland’s Erkki Tuomioja summed up: “There will be consequences, but we will have to discuss this. We will prepare these proposals for our December Council meeting. It is, of course, clear that business as usual cannot continue, but of course Turkey remains a candidate country.”
Turkey says it will only open its ports to ships from Cyprus if the EU ends the economic isolation of the northern part of the island, the breakaway Turkish Cypriot enclave recognised only by Ankara. As an EU member government, Nicosia can veto continuing talks with the Turks.