Germany warns Turkey it has to yield on Cyprus
6 November 2006, Berlin (dpa) - Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel warned Sunday in Berlin that it was up to Turkey to move next in a dispute with the European Union over recognition and free trade with EU member Cyprus.
6 November 2006
Berlin (dpa) - Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel warned Sunday in Berlin that it was up to Turkey to move next in a dispute with the European Union over recognition and free trade with EU member Cyprus.
Speaking after a special cabinet meeting, she said, "We don't want a political confrontation. But the requirement is that Turkey in particular budges." She said talks with Ankara had reached "a difficult stage," but hoped Turkey had not said its last word on the matter.
Ankara refuses to recognize Nicosia as part of a customs-union agreement with the European Union, demanding that a world trade embargo against Turkish-dominated northern Cyprus be suspended first.
The Merkel cabinet set out Sunday Germany's objectives as president of the 25-nation European Union next year, confirming that it would revive efforts to pass an EU constitutional treaty.
During the January-to-June presidency, Germany would also stress energy policy, the fight to stem climate change and establishing a better partnership with Africa.
Berlin, which was disappointed when plans for an EU constitution were voted down in France and the Netherlands, would seek a way to revive the constitution treaty, the cabinet said.
Germany would propose a "Berlin declaration" on EU values when EU leaders meet at a summit in the city next March.
Despite Merkel's warning to Turkey to back down in the conflict over trade with Cyprus, the policy paper took a less distinct stance over the ongoing accession talks with Ankara.
"A political entity without borders is not viable. In completing the unification of the continent, we should not take on more than we can manage," the paper said. However, it said, no new Iron Curtain must be put up at the outer boundaries of the EU.
"A developed policy of neighbourliness should apply for nations that we cannot absorb as full members, based on a sharing of security and prosperity as well as mutual values," the paper said.
Merkel had said earlier in a newspaper interview that Turkey faces a "very, very serious situation" if the talks on Cyprus remain frozen.
In the interview, to appear Monday in the newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung, she warned that talks with Turkey on its accession to the EU could not go ahead unaffected by the Cyprus trade issue.
Sources in Berlin told Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa this did not mean Berlin would seek a break-off of the accession talks, but rather a suspension of sub-sections of those talks.
Contacts with Turkey are strained because Ankara refuses to apply an agreement on free movement of goods, the Ankara Protocol, to EU member Cyprus by the end of 2006, as demanded by Brussels.
Efforts under the leadership of Finland, the current holder of the EU presidency, to settle the issue have been fruitless. The European Commission is set to issue a progress report before next month's EU summit, when a vote is to be taken on talks with Turkey.
Merkel's cabinet on Sunday also debated the basic elements of the German presidency of the Group of Eight (G8) nations next year.
Subject: German news