Bagis: Ties with EU bodies to continue under Greek Cyprus presidency
Turkey's ties with the European Union's executive arm and the 27-nation bloc's assembly will not rupture when Greek Cyprus takes over its rotating presidency next year a Turkish minister said on Sunday Today`s Zaman reported
Egemen Bagis, the state minister and Turkey's chief negotiator for EU affairs, said in televised remarks that Turkey will only avoid contact with the Greek Cypriot presidency.
"Our relations with the EU Commission and the EU Parliament will remain intact. We will just not sit across the same table as the term's presidency," Bagis said.
Bagis's remarks follow earlier statements from Turkish leaders that Turkey will freeze its relations with the EU, if Greek Cypriots assume the EU presidency without any settlement in Cyprus being reached. Greek Cyprus, not recognized by Turkey, is scheduled to take over the EU presidency for six months in the second half of 2012.
Bagis also warned the Greek Cypriots that the Turkish Cypriots, running their own state in the north of the island, could be internationally recognized as an independent state if they continue to drag feet in negotiations for a settlement on the island. "Turkey has a certain amount of leverage. There are countries waiting for a signal to recognize the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus [KKTC], to initiate diplomatic relations with it," he said.
"If the Greek Cypriots really want a solution, they should make good use of the coming six-month period; they will regret it otherwise," Bağış added.