EU diplomats warn Ankara: Accession talks may be stopped if ports don't open
(hurriyet.com) - Tension between Turkey and the EU on the subject of the opening up of Turkish sea and air ports to Greek Cypriot usage is growing. Following Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's statements in Strasbourg two days ago regarding the impossibility of Turkey opening up its ports without gaining something in return, as well as his outright questioning of the linking of the Cyprus matter with EU talks, statements in response from high level EU diplomats yesterday indicated that the matter is reaching a more serious point than ever, reports Trend.
EU Commisssioner for Expansion, Olli Rehn, said yesterday that if Turkey does not agree to opening up its ports, that the EU accession talks could very well be put on hold. In a statement to the Finnish STT news agency, Rehn said "The putting on hold of the talk is completely possible. I hope that it does not have to come to this point. But if there are reasons for us to do this, there is nothing to stop us from trying."
A message echoes the sentiments expressed by Rehn came from the Finnish authority, who takes over the term presidency of the EU starting on July 1. Finnish Foreign Minister Erkki Tuomioja noted that Ankara's refusal to open ports could affect the entire accession process, saying "Turkey has been given until the end of the year. We will do whatever is necessary to avoid a dramatic result on this matter." Finnish FM Tuomioja noted that these statements should not be viewed as threats, but rather that the Ankara authority should be aware of the reverberations from their decisions on the matter.