EU-candidate Turkey will freeze relations with the European Union if Cyprus is given the EU presidency in 2012, Deputy Prime Minister Besir Atalay was quoted as saying by state-run news agency Anatolian late on Saturday.When are we going to see hysterical op-eds that insist that the EU must apologize to Turkey? After all, as everyone knows, without an apology the EU will become increasingly isolated in the world community!
The comments were the strongest yet by Ankara over its opposition to the Cyprus presidency and could mark the start of a new low point in ties between the European Union and Turkey which began accession talks to the bloc in 2005.
The comments also come at a time of heightened tension in the eastern Mediterranean where Turkey is locked in a row with Cyprus over potential offshore gas deposits. Turkey's relations with one-time ally Israel are also at a low.
"If the peace negotiations there (Cyprus) are not conclusive, and the EU gives its rotating presidency to southern Cyprus, the real crisis will be between Turkey and the EU," Anatolian quoted Atalay as telling Turkish Cypriot Bayrak Radio and TV at the end of a trip to northern Cyprus.
"Because we will then freeze our relations with the EU. We have made this announcement, as a government we have made this decision. Our relations with the EU will come to a sudden halt."
The internationally-recognized Greek Cypriot government is due to take on the six-month rotating EU presidency in July 2012.
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