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Potential frozen Turkey-EU ties if Cyprus gets EU presidency
Marking what could potentially be the lowest point in Turkey-EU ties, tension between Cyprus and Turkey over offshore exploration has forced the latter to rethink ties with the European Union.
September 19, 2011 3:27 by Reuters
…ties between Turkey and Israel following the 2010 killing of Turkish activists in an Israeli raid on a ship bound for Gaza.
Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan said on Thursday Turkish warships could be sent to the eastern Mediterranean at any time and Israel could not do whatever it wants there.
Cyprus has said it would block Turkey’s EU-entry talks if Ankara continued to oppose its energy plans. The United Nations has appealed for a peaceful resolution to the dispute, saying both sides of the island should benefit from any reserves.
The European Union this month told Turkey not to issue threats against Cyprus.
Greek Cypriots represent Cyprus internationally and in the European Union, while Turkey is the only country to recognise the Turkish Cypriot state.
“COMMITTED TO EU ACCESSION”
While Cyprus remains a stumbling block to Turkey’s entry into the EU, some EU members have voiced opposition to its accession over several other factors ranging from Turkey’s cultural differences to fears of an influx into the EU of Turkish migrant workers.
Turkey has introduced many significant reforms over the past decade and has witnessed booming growth rates but the country is still one of Europe’s poorest in terms of per capita income.
On Sunday, Turkey’s Finance Minister Mehmet Simsek said Turkey was still committed to entering the EU but that this was not solely based on economic gains the country would make.
“There are people, there are certain circles who are beginning to question the EU accession story,” Simsek said in an interview with Britain’s Sky News.
“But my government is committed to EU accession not because of economic benefits that it might offer in the future it’s more about Turkey’s political, economic transformation.”
The rotating presidency has lost some influence since the EU Lisbon treaty, but a determined country can still shape the agenda.
Of the 35 “chapters” — policy areas of EU law — Turkey has completed one, and 18 have been frozen because of opposition by EU member states including Cyprus and France. (By Jonathon Burch; Additional reporting by Michele Kambas in Nicosia and Juliane von Reppert-Bismarck in Brussels and London bureau, editing by Myra MacDonald)
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