EU inches closer to Turkey deal

No agreement was reached between EU diplomats in Brussels yesterday as they attempted, for the fourth time in recent weeks, to strike a deal on Turkey’s membership process. However, sources told Kathimerini that Athens and Nicosia were closer than ever to securing the demands they wanted. The Council of Permanent Representatives is likely to hold another emergency meeting on Monday in an effort to agree on a counter-declaration to Turkey’s refusal to recognize Cyprus. But a deal is looking increasingly likely as some key concerns that Athens and Nicosia harbored appear to have been satisfied. In fact, had not Cypriot President Tassos Papadopoulos been on a flight from New York to London yesterday afternoon, a deal may have been reached. The fifth draft version of the statement links Ankara’s recognition of Cyprus with Turkey’s membership talks rather than its final accession to the EU, which was a key demand from Athens and Nicosia. One outstanding issue is Nicosia’s desire that the document make it clear that the normalization of relations between Turkey and Cyprus should be independent of any UN effort to reunify the island.

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