All eyes now on Ankara

Athens and Nicosia will be watching Turkey’s actions with added interest from today after the EU yesterday approved the content of a protocol to expand Ankara’s customs union with the 10 newest members, including Cyprus. The 25 EU foreign ministers gave the document the green light during a meeting in Luxembourg yesterday, in the shadow of recent «no» votes in the French and Dutch referendums on the European Constitution. The ministers’ jitteriness was evident in the fact that they decided that EU leaders, in their summit on Thursday and Friday, will not mention Turkey by name when reaffirming their intention to open membership talks with Ankara. It is feared that emphasizing Turkey’s possible inclusion in the Union could antagonize Europeans who have become sensitive to the issue during the buildup to votes on the European Constitution. If Turkey signs the protocol before Thursday, then the EU would be forced to refer to it by name, but it is not expected to do so until Monday at the earliest. The Greek and Cypriot governments will then wait to see whether, as expected, Turkey also issues a statement saying that its signing of the protocol to include Cyprus does not imply recognition of the republic.

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