EU tells Turks to toe line

In the first thorn that Turkey has had to deal with in its relations with the EU since Cyprus’s accession on May 1, the European Commission has demanded that Ankara extend its customs union with the EU to include the Republic of Cyprus. Turkey had extended the agreement to include the nine other new members of the EU, leaving out Cyprus, which it does not recognize. Fabrizio Barbaso, the general director of the Enlargement Directorate, sent the letter on Friday, at the instructions of Guenter Verheugen, the commissioner for enlargement. This followed a complaint by Cyprus, which had noted the issue in the EU summit’s conclusions regarding Turkey. The dispatch of the letter was revealed by the Cypriot newspaper Phileleftheros yesterday and this was confirmed (albeit unofficially) in Brussels. Meanwhile, the UN Security Council will today discuss Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s report on the failed effort to reunify Cyprus. Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos’s response to Annan’s report was to be given to the Council yesterday.