Turkey dominates NATO talks
Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis arrived in Latvia yesterday for a NATO summit on security but Turkey’s EU accession talks dominated the sidelines. Diplomatic sources said EU Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn will launch a new initiative aimed at helping Turkey’s bid to join the 25-nation bloc. On Monday, last-ditch talks in Tampere, Finland, between the EU and Turkey to avert a crisis over Cyprus collapsed with EU officials warning that the lack of a settlement would delay discussions in Ankara’s candidacy to join the bloc. Officials confirmed yesterday that Finnish Prime Minister Matti Vanhanen, whose country holds the rotating EU presidency, will visit Turkey on Friday to discuss its struggling membership bid. Karamanlis crossed paths with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Riga, Latvia’s capital, but they only exchanged a brief greeting. Karamanlis is scheduled to meet with French President Jacques Chirac today. Meanwhile, Foreign Affairs Minister Dora Bakoyannis met with her French counterpart Philippe Douste-Blazy yesterday. Diplomatic sources said Greece and France both had similar views on Turkey’s EU hopes.