19th Feb 2018

Cyprus blocks opening of first chapter in EU-Turkey talks

  • Cyprus has made clear it will use its EU veto to pressure Turkey (Photo: European Commission)

Cyprus has blocked the opening of Turkey's first negotiating chapter with the EU, with intense weekend diplomacy expected before a foreign ministers meeting on Monday.

The opening of the "science and research" legislative chapter is scheduled for Monday (12 June) at a meeting of EU foreign ministers with their Turkish counterpart Abdullah Gul in Luxembourg.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

The move would mean the first concrete work on one of the 35 negotiating chapters that EU candidate state Turkey has to go through before acceding to the bloc.

As there is no real EU legislation on science and research, the EU intended to close the chapter on the same day - Monday.

But Cyprus at a meeting of member states' ambassadors on Friday (9 June) fiercely resisted the closing of the chapter, demanding political concessions from Ankara first.

Diplomats said Nicosia wants to see progress on Turkey ending its continued non-recognition of Cyprus and its blockade of Cypriot shipping and air traffic.

Weekend diplomacy

"The Austrian EU presidency regrets that we did not reach a unanimous agreement in Coreper [member states permanent representatives committee]," said an Austrian spokesman.

"We stand ready for further negotiations in order to solve this issue, also over the weekend," said the spokesman. "The topic will now be handed over to foreign ministers on Monday."

A compromise text on the chapter prepared by Vienna contained a reference to the EU's 21 September statement, which requires Turkey to recognise EU member state Cyprus, as well as open its ports and airports to Cypriot vessels and planes

Nicosia has now made clear that if Ankara makes no progress in meeting these demands, it could veto the opening or closing of any chapter in Turkey's EU entry talks.

The starting and finishing of each of the 35 legislative chapters requires the unanimous consent of EU member states.

Croatia gets green light

Diplomats said, however, that Cyprus may, after intense weekend diplomacy, back down on Monday, amid Turkish media reports that Mr Gul could snub the EU by boycotting Monday's meeting.

Meanwhile, the row is unlikely to affect the membership bid of Croatia, which received the green light from EU ambassadors to open and close the science and research chapter on Monday.

Zagreb could enter the EU around 2009-2010, while 2015 is seen as a more likely possible accession date for Ankara.

Foreign ministers seek to avert EU-Turkey crisis

EU foreign ministers will on Monday try to defuse a major row over Turkey, with Turkish foreign minister Abdullah Gul threatening to stay away from a Luxembourg meeting if Cyprus keeps blocking its EU entry talks.

EU divided over Western Balkan enlargement

After the European Commission presented its Western Balkans strategy last week, with a view of possibly integrating the region by 2025, some EU ministers were less enthusiastic after their first discussion of the new policy.

Rights watchdog to visit Turkey over rule of law

The Strasbourg-based human rights watchdog, the Council of Europe, is heading to Ankara next week. The trip follows new plans by Ankara to meet EU demands for reforms in areas like anti-terror legislation.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. European Jewish CongressAt “An End to Antisemitism!” Conference, Dr. Kantor Calls for Ambitious Solutions
  2. UNESDAA Year Ago UNESDA Members Pledged to Reduce Added Sugars in Soft Drinks by 10%
  3. International Partnership for Human RightsUzbekistan: Investigate Torture of Journalist
  4. EPSUMovie Premiere: 'Up to The Last Drop' - 22 February, Brussels
  5. CESICESI@Noon on ‘Digitalisation & Future of Work: Social Protection For All?’ - March 7
  6. UNICEFExecutive Director's Committment to Tackling Sexual Exploitation and Abuse of Children
  7. Nordic Council of MinistersState of the Nordic Region 2018: Facts, Figures and Rankings of the 74 Regions
  8. Mission of China to the EUDigital Economy Shaping China's Future, Over 30% of GDP
  9. Macedonian Human Rights Movement Int.Suing the Governments of Macedonia and Greece for Changing Macedonia's Name
  10. Dialogue PlatformBeyond the Errors in the War on Terror: How to Fight Global Militarism - 22 February
  11. Swedish EnterprisesHarnessing Globalization- at What Cost? Keynote Speaker Commissioner Malmström
  12. European Friends of ArmeniaSave The Date 28/02: “Nagorno-Karabakh & the EU: 1988-2018”

Latest News

  1. Poland shows no sign of concessions to Commission
  2. Spain's De Guindos to be ECB vice-president
  3. Conservative 'buccaneering Brexit' narrative unrealistic
  4. MPs demand Council become more transparent
  5. Eurogroup starts process to pick new ECB chiefs
  6. 'Fact of life': some EU funding in new tech will get lost
  7. EU asks charities to explain anti-abuse measures
  8. ECB, Budget, EU elections This WEEK