Turkey has refused to make a gesture on Cyprus ahead of an EU summit next week to decide whether to open accession talks for Ankara.
The row centres on Turkey’s refusal to recognise Cyprus. Nicosia reportedly threatened to veto the start of accession negotiations unless it won full recognition. Turkey invaded northern Cyprus in 1974 in reaction to a Greek coup in Nicosia – the island has been divided ever since. Only the Greek south enjoys international recognition. Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said his country will not recognise Cyprus. Many in the EU are wary of admitting Turkey, a Muslim country of 70 million people, because of concerns over implementation of EU law, freedom of religion and the consequences for the European labour market. France says the EU must foresee “another option” if talks fail and Austria is calling for a “privileged partnership” – an idea fiercely rejected by Ankara. The Netherlands, which currently holds the bloc’s rotating presidency, says Turkey must be given a fair chance to negotiate entry talks.