EU Progress Report on Turkey Postponed to Nov. 8

Iran Materials 20 September 2006 17:38 (UTC +04:00)

(Zaman) The European Commission (EC) announced that its next progress report on Turkey, originally scheduled to be released Oct. 24, will be delayed until Nov. 8, reports Trend.

"The Commission's schedule has changed, that happens sometimes," EC Spokeswoman Krisztina Nagy said at a daily briefing on Tuesday.

Despite the delay in the publication of the report, Sofia and Bucharest, which are due to join the 25-member E.U. bloc January 2007, will have their monitoring reports ready Sept. 26, as agreed.

The two-week delay has been interpreted as a period granted for Turkey to speed up its reforms.

The E.U. Commission is expected to focus its report on the Turkish government's refusal to open its ports to Greek Cypriot traffic.

Diplomatic sources say that the E.U. may propose the suspension of Turkey's accession talks. One-third of the E.U. member states would be required to back the proposal to halt the talks, while the support of at least 13 out of 25 members would be needed for the proposal to enter into force.

Turkey opened membership talks with the E.U. October 2005; however, its refusal to open its ports to Greek Cypriot traffic has been a threat to its full membership.

On June 12, in Luxembourg, Turkey opened its actual accession talks with the E.U. in the area of science and research - the first of 35 policy fields to be dealt with in the membership talks. The Greek Cypriots had threatened to veto the beginning of Turkey's talks but were persuaded not to intervene after long hours of discussions with E.U. officials.