Turkey to freeze EU ties if Cyprus gets EU presidency

Turkey to freeze EU ties if Cyprus gets EU presidency

EU-candidate Turkey will freeze relations with the European Union if Cyprus is given the EU presidency in 2012, Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Besir Atalay was quoted as saying by the state-run news agency Anatolian late on Saturday.

The comments could signal a new low point in ties between the European Union and Turkey which began accession talks to the bloc in 2005, Reuters reported.

They also come at a time of heightened tension in the eastern Mediterranean where Turkey is locked in a row with Cyprus over potential offshore gas deposits and Turkey's relations with one-time ally Israel are frayed.

In what looked set to trigger a showdown between Turkey and EU-member Cyprus, Cypriot President Demetris Christofias said on Sunday Cyprus would start drilling for hydrocarbons "within the next few days.

"If the peace negotiations there (Cyprus) are not conclusive, and the EU gives its rotating presidency to southern Cyprus, the real crisis will be between Turkey and the EU," Anatolian quoted Atalay as telling Turkish Cypriot Bayrak Radio and TV at the end of a trip to northern Cyprus.

"Because we will then freeze our relations with the EU. We have made this announcement, as a government we have made this decision. Our relations with the EU will come to a sudden halt."

An official at the European Commission declined to comment on Atalay's statement.

The internationally-recognised Greek Cypriot government is due to take on the six-month rotating EU presidency in July 2012. Turkey does not recognize Greek Cyprus as a sovereign state.

Cyprus has been divided since a Turkish invasion in 1974 triggered by a brief Greek-inspired coup. U.N.-sponsored peace talks between Turkish Cypriots and Greek Cypriots have stumbled since they were relaunched in 2008. The United Nations has set an October deadline for a peace settlement but it is unlikely an agreement will be reached by then.

While Muslim Turkey started EU accession talks in 2005, progress has been slow, largely because of the conflict with Cyprus. The EU says Ankara must meet a pledge to open up traffic from the Greek Cypriot part of the island under a deal known as the Ankara protocol. Turkey says the EU should end its blockade of the Turkish Cypriot enclave.

"PROVOCATION"

Adding to tensions is an escalating row between Turkey and Cyprus over Greek Cypriot plans to launch gas explorations around the island and Christofias' announcement on Sunday is likely to draw a firm reaction from Turkey.

Turkey has already voiced strong opposition to the plans and on Saturday Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said they amounted to "provocation" and it would consider carrying out its own offshore surveys with northern Cyprus if drilling went ahead.

Earlier this month, Turkey's European Union Minister Egemen Bagis issued a veiled threat to Cyprus over the issue.

Asked about exploratory drilling for natural gas by Greek Cypriots, Bagis told Turkish media: "It is for this (reason) that countries have warships. It is for this (reason) that we have equipment and we train our navies."

Friction in the eastern Mediterranean is already high after a sharp decline in ties between Turkey and Israel following the 2010 killing of Turkish activists in an Israeli raid on a ship bound for Gaza.

Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan said on Thursday Turkish warships could be sent to the eastern Mediterranean at any time and Israel could not do whatever it wants there.

Cyprus has said it would block Turkey's EU-entry talks if Ankara continued to oppose its energy plans. The United Nations has appealed for a peaceful resolution to the dispute, saying both sides of the island should benefit from any reserves.

The European Union this month told Turkey not to issue threats against Cyprus.

Greek Cypriots represent Cyprus internationally and in the European Union, while Turkey is the only country to recognize the Turkish Cypriot state.

"COMMITTED TO EU ACCESSION"

While Cyprus remains a stumbling block to Turkey's entry into the EU, some EU members have voiced opposition to its accession over several other factors ranging from Turkey's cultural differences to fears of an influx into the EU of Turkish migrant workers.

Turkey has introduced many significant reforms over the past decade and has witnessed booming growth rates but the country is still one of Europe's poorest in terms of per capita income.

On Sunday, Turkey's Finance Minister Mehmet Simsek said Turkey was still committed to entering the EU but that this was not solely based on economic gains the country would make.

"There are people, there are certain circles who are beginning to question the EU accession story," Simsek said in an interview with Britain's Sky News.

"But my government is committed to EU accession not because of economic benefits that it might offer in the future it's more about Turkey's political, economic transformation."

The rotating presidency has lost some influence since the EU Lisbon treaty, but a determined country can still shape the agenda.

Of the 35 "chapters" -- policy areas of EU law -- Turkey has completed one, and 18 have been frozen because of opposition by EU member states including Cyprus and France.

Weekly review of Azerbaijan's oil and gas sector
Weekly review of Azerbaijan's oil and gas sector
Weekly review of Azerbaijani precious metals market
Weekly review of Azerbaijani precious metals market
Azerbaijani oil prices published
Azerbaijani oil prices published
Loading Bars
Latest
Azerbaijani police officers find ordnances left by Armenians in Khojavand (PHOTO)
Long-term energy demand impact of COVID-19 is modest
President Aliyev to Iranian reporter: Your question is a kind of an accusation (VIDEO)
New Zealand's largest city Auckland back to lockdown after COVID-19 case
Iran pins hopes on Swiss financial channel to purchase COVID-19 vaccines
Foreign journalists visit village where two-year-old Azerbaijani girl was killed by Armenians
Volume of cargo loaded, unloaded in Iran’s Chabahar port revealed
Weekly review of Azerbaijan's oil and gas sector
Eni Turkmenistan Ltd opens tender for catering, housekeeping services
Kazakhstan boosts imports of Switzerland-made products
Uzbek ministry, German Society for International Cooperation sign agreement
Uzbekistan, China expand mutual trade despite COVID-19
Georgia reports 373 new cases of coronavirus on Feb.27
Buy/sell operations at Iran Mercantile Exchange soar
Weekly review of Azerbaijani precious metals market
Baku Metro continues preparatory work for commissioning of new 'November' 8 station
Iran's exports to Russia increase
Uzbek-Korean JV to buy spare parts for pumps via tender
Kazakh airlines eye to launch several flights on Turkestan-Istanbul route
UNDP in Turkmenistan opens tender for services on seismic work
Volume of electricity generated by renewable energy power plants in Iran announced
Researcher talks monuments on ancient Azerbaijani lands vandalized by Armenians (PHOTO)
Uzbekistan reveals COVID-19 data for Feb. 27
Azerbaijan's MoD shares footage from Gubadly's Afandilar village (PHOTO/VIDEO)
Iranian currency rates for February 27
Remittances from Azerbaijan to Georgia show highest growth rate
Belarus considering possibility of supplying agricultural machinery to Turkmenistan
Turkmenistan’s Turkmenbashi Oil Refinery exceeds plan for kerosene production
Azerbaijani oil prices published
Kazakhstan's uranium mining company opens tender to acquire electro-technical materials
Issuance of construction permissions in Georgia down
Philippines extends partial coronavirus curbs in capital until end-March
Weekly review of Azerbaijani currency market
Kazakh gas supply company to attract equipment installation services via tender
Turkey's tourism industry puts hopes on safety measures for new season
Azerbaijani marketing platform plans to become regional player
Argentine health minister tests positive for COVID-19
Czech gov't declares new state of emergency over coronavirus
U.S. FDA advisors recommend approving Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use
Increase in malware attacks makes cybersecurity more relevant than ever - Kaspersky Lab in Azerbaijan
South Korea vaccinates 18,000 to start ambitious COVID-19 campaign
US may announce new sanctions on Russia within weeks - White House press secretary
Founder of Indian Jet Airways eyes opening airline in Uzbekistan’s Namangan region
Saudi Arabia rejects U.S. intelligence report on Khashoggi's killing: statement
Israel registers 2,738 new COVID-19 cases, 769,971 in total
U.S. announces 'Khashoggi ban' for 76 Saudi individuals
Number of COVID-2019 cases across globe up by over 427,000 in past day
Slovenia confirms first case of coronavirus variant identified in S. Africa
UN Security Council adopts resolution on vaccination
UK records another 8,523 coronavirus cases, 345 deaths
Kazakhstan shows interest in supplies of Belarusian sugar, its manufacturing technology
Turkey reports 9,205 new COVID-19 cases, 2,683,971 in total
Iran, Russia emphasize need to coop. in agricultural sector
When will Georgia receive its first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine?
House poised to approve Biden's $1.9T coronavirus relief bill in Friday vote
Canada approves use of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine
Azerbaijan discloses volume of liabilities of banks in Jan. 2021 accounting for deposits
Azerbaijan imposes restrictions on import of poultry meat from Estonian county
Amount of financial support of Kazakh manufacturing sector by Baiterek holding increases
Attracting FDI can help Georgia to boost exports of high-value food products - OECD
European Council extends mandate of special representative for South Caucasus
Kuwait reports 1,022 new COVID-19 cases, 189,046 in total
WHO says COVID-19 vaccine rollout in Africa has gathered steam
Armenia has always supported terrorism - MP
EU supports JCPOA commitments
Azerbaijan focused on rehabilitation, reconstruction of liberated lands - MP
Assistant to Azerbaijan's president talks country's success in int'l information field
Baku Stock Exchange to auction off Azerbaijani Central Bank's short-term notes
Azerbaijan records growth of GDP in non-oil sector over Jan. 2021
Azerbaijan discloses volume of fruits and vegetables exported since early 2021
Azerbaijan would like to bring new ideas, proposals to region with help of OSCE - MP
Uzbekistan, Tajikistan talk opening ground checkpoints
All Armenian prisoners of war have been returned to Armenia - Azerbaijani MP
President Aliyev makes phone call to President Erdogan
Number of electronic registrations of businesses in Azerbaijan growing
TikTok is more affordable with Azercell!
Etsy not thinking of accepting bitcoin right now
Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan reach agreement on drilling wells with Satti jack-up rig
Only close cooperation can help demilitarize South Caucasus region - Azerbaijani MP
Azerbaijan Caspian Shipping CJSC receives int'l certificate in use of specialized software
FAO outlines strategy for healthy and productive livestock in Europe, Central Asia
Azerbaijan's January 2021 revenues from exports to US increase over fourfold
Registration of new enterprises down in Georgia
We have created new realities, Armenia and other countries must reckon with it - President Aliyev
Azerbaijan's AzerGold, BUZ Consulting ink contract to acquire Microsoft license
Precious metal prices down in Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan's State Employment Agency opens tender on e-platform development
Azerbaijan holds minute of silence to honor Khojaly genocide victims
Turkmenistan's Turkmenhimiya extends tender for turnkey construction of plants
Putin discusses current situation in Karabakh with Russian Security Council members
Azerbaijan records decline in total assets of local banks for Jan.2021
CNPC in Turkmenistan opens tender for purchase of tubing, spare parts
TPP in Uzbekistan announces tender for construction of combined cycle unit
Iran launches telecommunication projects in Isfahan Province
Azerbaijani witnesses to Khojaly genocide recount tragic events - Trend TV (VIDEO)
Turkmenistan conducts exploration, drilling operations at fields in Caspian region
Portugal's 'Original Features' shoots film about Khojaly genocide (VIDEO)
China will extend tariff exemptions for 65 U.S. products
Azerbaijan reports 180 more COVID-19 recoveries
Russian state official stresses need to reveal out causes and culprits of Khojaly tragedy
All news