Athens to have say on Turkish EU goals

Most of the demands Athens has made in relation to Turkey’s European Union accession are to be raised today when Brussels assesses the progress Ankara has made over the last year, sources told Kathimerini yesterday. Turkey is hoping that the annual EU report will lead to «market economy» status being granted to Ankara. The move would be a significant boost to the Turkish economy and efforts to harmonize its laws with EU legislation. However, sources indicate that even if the report grants the status Ankara desires, Turkey will be left in no doubt about the obligations it has to meet before being able to join the Union. A number of these requirements concern its relations with Greece. Athens has laid down several markers which the EU is expected to adopt. These include the demand that it work toward good neighborly relations. It is also likely that Turkey will be encouraged to drop its threat of war (casus belli) over its territorial water dispute with Greece in the Aegean. The report, sources said, will also demand that Ankara allow the re-opening of the Orthodox Halki seminary located on an island off Istanbul and stop the expropriation of property belonging to Greeks living on the northeastern Aegean islands of Imvros and Tenedos. Ankara will also be asked to make sure that it implements the customs protocol it signed this year and allow the free movement of ships and airplanes between Turkey and Cyprus. It is expected, however, that no mention will be made of deadlines for Ankara to recognize Cyprus. Meanwhile, Athens will also be keen to see whether, as expected, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia is granted candidate status by the EU today.

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