Cyprus has rejected a Turkish bid to avert a partial suspension of Ankara’s membership talks with the European Union. Turkey had offered to open one port and one airport to traffic from Cyprus. This won cautious praise from EU president Finland. The Turkish attempt to elicit a compromise was conditional. An EU source said the port opening appeared provisional, for a year, while Turkey linked opening an airport to Cypriot flights to the opening of a port and an airport in northern Cyprus.
Before Turkey goes further, it insists Europe keep a promise to end the economic isolation of Turkish Cypriot Northern Cyprus, which nobody but Ankara recognises. European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said in Brussels: “I hope we’ll have clarification soon on this step the Turkish government has announced. If this step is confirmed, it is obviously a very important step in the sense of full implementation of the Ankara Protocol. In that case, I salute the move.” Turkish Cypriot Northern Cyprus declared itself a republic after a Turkish invasion split the island in 1974 in response to a Greek Cypriot coup backed by Athens.
Brussels last week recommended a partial suspension of EU-accession talks with Ankara. Turkey has not met a protocol obligation to completely open all its ports to all the new EU members, including Cyprus. The authorities in Nicosia demand that Ankara meet the bloc’s deadline to do that by the end of this year – unconditionally.