Talks to decide Turkey stance

Cypriot President Tassos Papadopoulos arrived in Athens yesterday to be briefed on the investigation into the causes of Sunday’s plane crash while maintaining his focus on a planned meeting with the Greek premier today to discuss Turkey’s EU membership talks. Before leaving Nicosia, Papadopoulos did not rule out the possibility of using a veto to halt Turkey’s membership process but refused to give any details about the positions that he and Costas Karamanlis are expected to firm up today. The meeting between the two leaders comes ahead of a crucial couple of weeks in Brussels, where EU officials will be discussing whether to begin membership talks with Turkey in October, as planned. The main topic of discussion is likely to be Ankara’s refusal to recognize Cyprus, despite signing a protocol expanding its customs union to include the republic almost three weeks ago. Karamanlis and Papadopoulos will want to agree on a common position with regard to the issues, before the meeting of the EU council of permanent representatives on August 25 and of foreign ministers on September 1.