EU Turkey relations to freeze, Turkish FM warns

EU Turkey relations to freeze, Turkish FM warns
# 13 July 2011 17:50 (UTC +04:00)
Baku-APA. Turkish relations with the European Union "will freeze" if Cyprus takes over the EU presidency in July 2012 without a solution to the divided island, Turkey’s foreign minister said Wednesday, APA reports referring website.
Ahmet Davutoglu made his comments as the European Union’s enlargement chief said in a visit to Ankara that he wanted to see "a new momentum" in Turkey’s membership process now that Turkish parliamentary elections were over.
Muslim Turkey started accession talks in 2005 but progress has been slow, largely because of a conflict with Cyprus over a breakaway state on the island recognized only by Turkey.
U.N.-sponsored peace talks between the two communities have stumbled since they were relaunched in 2008.
"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," Davutoglu told a news conference.
The Cyprus dispute is a major obstacle for Turkey’s EU bid, aside from opposition from EU heavyweights France and Germany.
Greek Cypriots say Turkey cannot join the bloc until the Cyprus conflict is resolved.
"We should take measures now to prevent this blockage," Davutoglu said, adding that such measures should be taken before the end of this year.
Any agreement the two sides reach must go to a plebiscite. In a referendum in 2004 Turkish Cypriots voted for reunification, but Greek Cypriots rejected it.