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Open Turkish ports to Greek Cypriots: Says Merkel

26 February 2013

Angela Merkel, the German Chancellor remains skeptical that Turkey will gain membership of the EU, however, she says that she supports talks between Turkey and the EU on a new chapter. This will give impetus to Turkey’s membership process.

She emphasised the need for Turkey to open its ports and airports to Greek Cypriot traffic, adding that failing to do so would cause many other chapters to stay closed. She also re-stated the possibility that despite Turkey’s efforts, the process was open-ended and did not necessarily mean that Turkey would ever have full membership to the EU.

Merkel was speaking at a joint news conference with Turkish Prime Minister, Erdogan in Ankara.

She joined forces with with France’s former President Nicolas Sarkozy in opposing Turkey’s membership and had called for a privileged partnership instead, but the new French leader, François Hollande, is more favourable towards Turkish accession and has recently agreed to lift the French veto on the opening of talks on one of the five chapters blocked by Paris.

It appears that Merkel is becoming more isolated at home and abroad in her negative attitude towards Turkey’s EU accession; thus casting some light on the stalled negotiations which began in 2005 but has only concluded discussions on one chapter out of 35, which it needs to complete before acceding to the EU. No further chapters have been opened for talks for the last two and a half years.

The EU Commission, last weekend, welcomed the fact the other member states had taken steps to continue negotiations on new chapters with Turkey.

“This is in line with the conclusions of the [EU] Council last December in which member states committed to active and credible accession negotiations with Turkey respecting the EU’s commitments and called for a new momentum in these negotiations,” Peter Stano, the spokesman for Stefan Füle, the EU’s enlargement commissioner, said in Brussels on Monday.

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