(DIP) TURKEY WELCOMES EU COUNCIL'S ENLARGEMENT CONCLUSIONS.
Turkish Foreign Ministry said in a statement issued Tuesday night, it welcomed the "Enlargement Conclusions" released by EU's General Affairs Council that will be presented to the EU Summit to be held next week, only voicing objection to conclusions on the Cyprus issue.
Ankara said it welcomed the Council's Conclusions in general which praised Turkey's continued commitment to the negotiation process and the political reform agenda, regarding the recent constitutional reform package as an important step in line with the priorities of the Accession Partnership.
"The determination of our Government as to advancing the negotiation process and continuing with the reforms grows stronger with the support of our people," said Ankara, adding that it would continue and intensify its efforts towards its final goal, which was EU membership.
However, Ankara, said it found the conclusions on the Cyprus issue "incompatible with international law" and was the result of the irrational attitude of the Greek Cypriot Administration. It said the right platform to address the Cyprus issue was not EU Council Conclusions but the ongoing comprehensive negotiations conducted under the auspices of the UN Secretary General.
EU Council, in its "Enlargement Conclusions," released earlier Tuesday, praised Turkey's commitment to the EU Accession Process, while criticising Turkey's failure to open its ports to Greek Cypriot vessels. The Council expressed its frustration with Turkey for refusing to open its ports to Greek Cypriot vessels in line with the the Additional Protocol to the Ankara Agreement, despite repeated calls. It said it would continue to block opening of certain negotiation chapters, should Turkey insist on not opening its ports, warning that this would have a continuous effect on the overall progress of the negotiations. The Council also urged Turkey to actively support the ongoing Cyprus talks aimed at a fair, comprehensive and viable settlement of the Cyprus problem within the UN framework regarding Turkey's commitment and contribution in concrete terms to such a comprehensive settlement as crucial.
Turkey started accession negotiations with the 27-nation bloc in 2005. 13 out of 35 chapters have been opened so far. Eight chapters remain frozen since 2006 due to Turkey's refusal to open its ports to Greek Cypriot vessels who blames EU of not fulfilling its promise to establish direct trade with the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, though the Turkish Cypriots in the north overwhelmingly supported the UN reunification plan in twin referendums in 2004.
(THROUGH ASIA PULSE)