Erdogan: Turkey Could Suspend EU Membership Talks
Turkey could suspend its EU accession process if the EU pressure and threaten it with sanctions over the situation in Cyprus, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said, quoted by RIA Novosti.
In 1963, Turkey signed an association agreement with the EU, and in 1987 it applied for EU membership. However, accession negotiations only began in 2005 and have been repeatedly suspended due to disagreements. Now 16 of the 35 chapters of the negotiating file are open. In March 2016, Brussels intensified the negotiations in return for Turkey's agreement to help reduce the flow of migrants.
"We have guarantor rights in this region, they also exist in the economic zone (Mediterranean). Countries that do not have these rights come and do work and tell us that we cannot enter here, otherwise there will be sanctions for Turkey. You are constantly running out of time, threatening with sanctions, making promises to us many times, but failing to keep them. The fact that you and I are at the negotiating table does not bind us. Negotiations can suddenly end, " Erdogan said in Ankara. He added that Turkey would not allow the EU to exert pressure on it because of the situation in Cyprus.
Cyprus has been de facto divided since 1974. Turkey refers to Cyprus' international independence treaties, which provide for the right of the three guarantor countries to interfere in Cyprus's internal affairs and deploy small military contingents on the island. Relations between Greece and Turkey have deteriorated sharply in recent months because of Ankara's decision to start drilling and exploring hydrocarbon fields in Cyprus' exclusive economic zone. Turkey also calls into question Greece's right to develop deposits near its eastern islands. In mid-October, EU foreign ministers agreed to impose sanctions on Turkey and instructed to prepare measures against accomplices in the activity.
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