Cyprus Warns Veto of Turkey’s EU Talks

NICOSIA (Combined Sources)–Cyprus has upped the ante in its deman’s for recognition from Turkey–warning its European Union partners it may otherwise veto the start of accession talks with Ankara–local newspapers reported.

The warning that Nicosia may "have no other option" but to use its veto at a December 16-17 summit of EU heads of state was issued at a meeting of the EU ambassadors of the bloc’s 25 member countries in Brussels on Wednesday.

Cyprus’s EU representative warned that Nicosia "may be pushed down a path it does not want to take" if Ankara refused to recognize it–the Cyprus Mail newspaper reported from Brussels. Other dailies carried similar reports.

Turkey is resisting calls to recognize Cyprus before the summit–which will decide whether to launch EU entry talks with Ankara.

Turkey recognizes only the Turkish Cypriot enclave in north Cyprus–while the rest of the world views the Greek Cypriot government in the south–which joined the EU in May–as the sole legitimate representative of the whole island.

The Cypriot government has demanded full recognition before Turkey’s talks start. Turkey invaded Cyprus in 1974 in reaction to an Greek-inspired coup in Nicosia and has kept 35,000 troops on the divided island ever since.

Many in the EU are wary of admitting Turkey–a large–relatively poor–Muslim country of 70 million people because of concerns of social and labor upheaval.

In Brussels yesterday–the Dutch presidency of the EU said it was sure it could resolve the question of Ankara’s refusal to recognize Cyprus before this month’s summit.

"We are discussing this with both Cyprus and Turkey…I am absolutely sure the presidency…will find a formula that will satisfy everyone," Dutch Foreign Minister Bernard Bot–whose country holds the rotating EU presidency–told reporters.

The Dutch presidency last week suggested a compromise under which Turkey would tacitly recognize the Greek Cypriot government by extending an existing association agreement it has with the EU. Ankara and Nicosia have so far rejected this idea


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