-  Friday 21 September 2018

Turkey warned hardline tactics may derail EU talks

Turkey has been given a blunt warning by Brussels that it is jeopardising its 40-year dream of joining the European Union by failing to negotiate in good faith.
Ankara's supporters are growing exasperated with Turkey's hardline tactics, which are strengthening the hands of its opponents in the EU.

Olli Rehn, Europe's enlargement commissioner, highlighted the frustration last week when he warned of a "train crash" in the EU's relations with Turkey. One EU ambassador said: "The talks really are not going well." Another senior Brussels official said: "The membership negotiations won't take a decade, they will take decades and even then Turkey may not make it."

Turkey warned hardline tactics may derail EU talks
Turkey has been given a blunt warning by Brussels that it is jeopardising its 40-year dream of joining the European Union by failing to negotiate in good faith.
Ankara's supporters are growing exasperated with Turkey's hardline tactics, which are strengthening the hands of its opponents in the EU.

Olli Rehn, Europe's enlargement commissioner, highlighted the frustration last week when he warned of a "train crash" in the EU's relations with Turkey. One EU ambassador said: "The talks really are not going well." Another senior Brussels official said: "The membership negotiations won't take a decade, they will take decades and even then Turkey may not make it."

The warnings were prompted by Turkey's refusal to abide by a commitment last year to open its ports and airports to planes and shipping from Greek Cyprus. Cyprus gave its go-ahead to EU membership talks only after Turkey signed the "Ankara protocol", which allows all 25 EU countries - including the divided Mediterranean island - to trade with Turkey. Ankara is now arguing that the EU should also end its trade embargo with the Turkish north of the island.
Turkey's hardline stance is destabilising lengthy membership talks. Mr Rehn made clear last week Turkey could be in trouble unless it changes its ways by the time the commission publishes its annual progress report in the autumn. "We may face a period of political tension in EU-Turkey relations," he told Reuters. "The commission is working to avoid a train crash at the end of the year."

The European Commission fears the membership talks could unravel unless Turkey abides by its commitments.

Tassos Papadopoulos, the Cypriot president, has demanded that Turkey open up its ports. "If Turkey does not comply, there will be a crisis," he told Reuters on Tuesday. "But it will be a crisis of its own making, not of Europe's making."

Turkey's behaviour is being used by EU countries which are wary of Ankara to slow down talks. France is calling for Turkey to guarantee the Kurdish language can be taught in schools.

Source
guardian




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