Merkel tells Turkey to open ports to Cyprus

8th November 2006, Comments 0 comments

8 November 2006, Berlin (dpa) - German Chancellor Angela Merkel warned Wednesday that Turkey would face consequences if Ankara failed to open its ports to ships and planes from Cyprus as part of a bid to join the European Union. "Turkey must fulfil its obligations by the end of the year," said Merkel, adding: "Otherwise the EU will draw the appropriate conclusions." The German leader underlined that a continuation of Ankara's present ban on ships and aircraft from EU member state Cyprus was out of the ques

8 November 2006

Berlin (dpa) - German Chancellor Angela Merkel warned Wednesday that Turkey would face consequences if Ankara failed to open its ports to ships and planes from Cyprus as part of a bid to join the European Union.

"Turkey must fulfil its obligations by the end of the year," said Merkel, adding: "Otherwise the EU will draw the appropriate conclusions."

The German leader underlined that a continuation of Ankara's present ban on ships and aircraft from EU member state Cyprus was out of the question.

The remarks came as the European Union on Wednesday gave Turkey a mid-December deadline to open its ports to Greek Cypriot vessels, saying this was a key condition for keeping Ankara's EU entry bid on track.

Turkey's failure to fulfil its obligations towards Cyprus would "affect the overall progress" in Ankara's 12-month-old EU membership negotiations, warned European Comission President Jose Manuel Barroso.

In other German reaction to the EU deadline, a leader of Merkel's Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party, said Turkey was back-sliding on reforms.

"The CDU wants a privileged partnership for Turkey with the EU because full membership would over-burden the integration capacity of the Union," said CDU Secretary General Ronald Pofalla.

Juergen Thurmann, head of Germany's Federation of Industry (BDI), said Turkey still needed to be given a clear EU perspective in order to encourage economic opening and liberalisation.

The Turkish Community of Germany (TGD) warned that halting EU negotiations with Ankara would have "fatal consequences" not only for the EU and Turkey but also for the Turkish community in Germany.

"Such a move would badly damage the integration efforts of Turks living in Germany," said Kenan Kolat, the group's chairman.

There are about 2.8 million Turks living in Germany out of a total population of 82 million.

DPA

Subject: German news

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