Erdogan tries to downplay threat to accession talks

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Erdogan tries to downplay threat to accession talks

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Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is trying to downplay a European Commission recommendation to partially suspend EU accession talks

It follows Ankara’s continued refusal to open its ports to Cyprus, which it doesn’t recognise. Cyprus is already an EU member. Turkey says it will only let in Cypriot vessels if the EU lifts trade restrictions on northern Cyprus which Ankara alone recognises. Talks on eight out of 35 policy areas regarding Turkey’s adhesion are expected to be frozen as a result of the dispute.

Michael Emerson from the Centre for European Policy Studies said: “The intention is surely to send a certain political message to Turkey but not to cause an outright crisis or rupture.”

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said the Commission’s decision showed Turkey had to honour its agreement with the EU. She called for a review on the Turkish situation in 18 months.