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- July 14, 2011 at 12:42 pm #342034
Turkey's EU minister said on Wednesday candidate Turkey might freeze relations with the rotating European Union presidency if Cyprus assumed the post in July 2012 without a solution to the divided island.
"It is an option to freeze ties with the EU presidency, with the Greek Cypriot side," Egemen Bagis told TGRT broadcaster.
"We don't have any relations with the Greek Cypriot side anyway, we don't recognize them, so we have no ties. I think that's what the foreign minister meant," he said in an interview.
Bagis appeared to be clarifying earlier comments by Turkey's Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, who told a news conference: "If the Greek Cypriot side stalls negotiations and takes over the presidency of the European Union in July 2012, this means not only a deadlock on the island, but also a blockage, a freezing point in Turkey-European Union relations."
Bagis, Turkey's former EU negotiator who was appointed to the newly created position of EU minister in Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan's government, said:
"But we will continue our relations with the Commission, and if Greek Cypriot side tries to take advantage of the presidency and blocks new chapters, let it be."
Under the EU's Lisbon treaty, which established in Brussels a permanent head of the European Council — which groups national governments — and a new foreign and security policy chief, the rotating presidency has lost some importance 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.
Let them do it. They have my blessing.
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