NEWS

Athens does not rule out veto on Turkey

Athens did not rule out yesterday the possibility of using a veto, along with Nicosia, to block the start of Turkey’s EU membership talks in October, after Ankara extended its customs union on Friday but expressly refused to recognize Cyprus. «As the accession process is complicated and protracted, there are many opportunities for intervention or to exercise influence on the candidate state,» said Greek Foreign Ministry spokesman Giorgos Koumoutsakos in response to a question about whether Greece or Cyprus might block Ankara’s progress in Brussels. Nicosia and Athens reiterated their disappointment that although Turkey had signed a protocol on Friday to extend its customs union to include the 10 newest EU states, including Cyprus, it had added a statement saying that it still did not recognize Nicosia. But EU Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn said yesterday that Ankara’s stance was unlikely to jeopardize its membership talks.