17 December 2004
Source: EU Business
Turkish PM attacked for 'carpet trader' style with EU
" "We were gobsmacked," said Luxembourg foreign minister Jean Asselborn, describing the mood when Erdogan bluntly told EU leaders that there was no way he could recognize Cyprus."
"We were gobsmacked," said Luxembourg foreign minister Jean Asselborn,
describing the mood when Erdogan bluntly told EU leaders that there was
no way he could recognize Cyprus.
"Everything had been finished. There had been terrible wrangling
to agree a text. The summit had officially finished," he said at the end
of the two-day summit, at which the EU agreed to start entry talks with
Ankara next October.
"And then suddenly Mr. Erdogan started to talk about the
recognition of Cyprus, in a provocative and quite aggressive way in my
view," he told reporters.
Erdogan's behaviour irked everyone present, he said. "What many
colleagues say, (that) Turkish politicians still have things to learn,
is quite right. We are not carpet traders here in Europe."
The summit was almost derailed by a standoff over Cyprus, whose
Greek Cypriot government Turkey refuses to recognise, but Erdogan in the
end convinced the EU to give him a green light by vowing to sign a key
EU accord -- which Erdogan promptly said did not amount to acknowledging
The talks will start on October 3, and are expected to last at
least a decade.
"We back and will continue to back accession talks with Turkey,"
said Asselborn. "But what we cannot accept is to start discussing again
and calling back into question something fundamental like the
recognition of Cyprus."
"If we want to start the membership negotiations calmly on October
3, politically Turkey needs to make a very important step to recognize
Cyprus," he added."