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New Talks on Turkey's accession

brussels bureau

New Talks on Turkey's accession


Turkey is once more on the EU agenda. On Thursday talks will resume, to try and get Turkey back on track for EU accession. Discussions began a year and a half ago. They were suspended between the 27 EU member nations and Turkey in December, because of disagreements over Cyprus.

Last June the science and research chapter was on the talks agenda. Now it will be the turn of politics and enterprise. Thirty five chapters must be closed before Turkey can join. Eight of these are linked with Cyprus. Even without Cyprus, Turkey faces difficulties for EU entry, because some EU members doubt the European credentials of the large, relatively poor and predominantly Muslim country.

Cyprus remains a divided country, with the Turkish sector in the north relatively isolated, except for its links with Turkey. This situation is untenable in a United Europe. So the island remains the elephant in the room.

The Northern Cypriot airport is closed to all traffic except to and from Turkey. Turkey has refused entry to Greek Cypriot boats and planes. Now the Turkish Government of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan says it will open its ports and customs to traffic from Greek Sector Cyprus – on one condition – that the EU no longer leaves northern Cyprus commercially isolated. But the main opponents of this trade condition are the Greek Cypriots. Cyprus has been ethnically divided since a Turkish invasion prompted by a Greek inspired coup in 1974.

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