EU Delays Its Decision Over Turkey

ANKARA (Turkish News Daily)–After a lengthy meeting it was announced that European Union foreign ministers delayed the endorsement of the Accession Partnership Document regarding Turkey until Dec. 4. At that time there will be another EU foreign ministers meeting.

According to an analyst–this delay means that uncertainty over Turkish-European Union relations will continue until December.

Sources close to the EU said that ministers could not agree on whether to drop the Cyprus reference or to add the Aegean dispute to the document. Despite Greece’s intensive efforts some EU ministers rejected the addition of the Aegean issue to the document and have delayed their decision until Dec. 4.

As the uncertainty over Turkish-EU relations continue–diplomatic sources close to the Foreign Ministry said that relations between Turkey and the EU may deteriorate if the EU continues to insist on the Cyprus and Aegean issues being included in the Accession Partnership Document.

Stating that Turkey does not want any obstacles in the way of its relations with the EU–the same sources reiterated that any reference to the Cyprus and particularly the Aegean dispute would make relations more difficult.

Ankara has been trying to convince EU members to omit the reference to Cyprus in the document–which was endorsed in yesterday’s EU foreign ministry meeting. The emergence of a second snag — to add the Aegean dispute to mid-term issues in the document — between Turkey and the EU has brought relations to a critical point.

Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit issued a stern warning to the EU during the past weekend. Urging the EU not to make any stipulations regarding Cyprus and the Aegean–he implied that if the EU continues to use these issues as a bargaining chip–Turkey may give up its effort to join the EU.

"One of Turkey’s main goals is to be member of the EU and it does not want to deviate from this goal–but recent developmen’s have put obstacles in the way of Turkey’s EU membership–" said diplomatic sources.

Stressing that both the government and the foreign ministry have no knowledge of the recent rumors that Turkey may withdraw from it’s EU membership bid–he said that Turkey was waiting on positive steps from the EU side.

The diplomatic source also said that Turkey had been continuing its studies over its national program but in the case of any negative steps from the EU–Turkey may delay completion of the national program.

"Every development relating to Turkish-EU relations will affect each other. If the EU decides to add the Aegean and Cyprus disputes to the document–Turkey may take some measures such as delaying the completion of the national program," he noted.

Drawing attention to the importance of dialogue between the EU and Turkey to overcome the problems–the diplomatic source said that he personally thinks that the EU has not fully understood Turkey’s position.

Turkish President Ahmet Necdet Sezer also said that in addition to the Cyprus reference in the document it was beyond decisions made in Helsinki and added that Turkey would not accept any connection between reaching a solution in Cyprus and EU membership.

Speaking at the Foreign Economic Relations Council meeting in Istanbul–Sezer said that Turkey would take seriously the European Parliament’s decision in calling on Turkey to accept the Armenian genocide.

The Turkish Union of Chambers and Commodities Exchanges Chairman Fuat Miras criticized the European Parliament’s decision to call on Ankara to recognize the alleged Armenian genocide. Speaking at the DEIK meeting–Miras said that both the Armenian decision and Parliament’s reference to the Cyprus and "Kurdish" issues are not based on historical facts and rather reflect subjective evaluations. The European Parliament does not make a positive contribution to Turkey-EU relations.

Volkan Vural–Head of the Prime Ministry’s EU Secretariat–said on Monday that he expects the EU to engage in substantial issues instead of putting unnecessary political conditions in front of Turkey.

Turkey also said Monday that it may block the use of NATO forces by Europe if the EU continues it’s policy which envisages to exclude Turkey From the European Security and Defense Policy.

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