Cyprus ready to block Turkey's EU drive -- state TV (UPDATE)

Cyprus ready to block Turkey's  EU drive -- state TV (UPDATE)

Cyprus has given notice to all other European Union countries that it will take action to block further progress in Turkey's negotiations to join the block, the Cyprus Broadcasting Corporation (CYBC) reported on Tuesday night.
   It said the position of the Cyprus government on the issue was set out in a letter by President Demetris Christofias to all other European heads of state or governments, ahead of next month's European Council which will evaluate Turkey's progress, Xinhua reported.
   CYBC, quoting unnamed government sources after a four-hour meeting of the Cyprus National Council, an advisory body made up of parliamentary party leaders and former presidents, said Cyprus warned other European states that Turkey will not come out untouched if it fails to implement an agreement with the EU requiring Ankara to extend recognition to all 10 states which joined the block in 2004, including Cyprus.
   Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when the Turkish military intervened and occupied the northern part in response to a coup by a group of Greek officers.
   In 1983, Turkish Cypriot authorities declared the establishment of the "Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus," which is recognized only by Turkey. Ankara has retained some 35,000 troops in the north of the Mediterranean island.
   Ankara has so far refused to recognize the Republic of Cyprus, effectively governing the Greek Cypriot south. Turkish air space and ports are not open to Greek Cypriot aircraft and ships.
   The Cyprus issue remains one of the main obstacles to Ankara's bid to join the EU, of which the Republic of Cyprus is a member state.
   Turkey launched its accession talks with the EU in 2005. But EU froze eight of the 35 negotiating chapters, or policy areas, in 2006 as a result of Ankara's stance on Cyprus. 
   Cyprus has recently expressed its disappointment at a European Commission annual report released last month on progress of EU candidate countries, including Turkey, as the report recommended no further measures to be taken against Ankara who has so far failed to fulfilled its obligations concerning Cyprus.
   CYBC said Cyprus warned its EU partners that if they fail to agree on sanctions against Turkey, it will act unilaterally.
   The exact nature of Cyprus' action will be further discussed early December but sources quoted by CYBC said it may involve blocking some more negotiating chapters. 

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