Ankara ups the ante again

Turkey’s Minister for European Union Affairs Egemen Bagis has responded with evident exasperation to comments made by Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis in an interview with a Greek newspaper over the weekend where she stressed the need for Ankara to honor the EU’s acquis communautaire if it wants its accession bid to progress. «Turkey is conscious of its obligations, we expect [Greece] to be so too,» Bagis told the Turkish news agency Anatolia, adding that Athens only has the Cyprus problem on its foreign policy agenda whereas Ankara has many other issues. Responding to the Turkish minister’s comments, a spokesperson for the Greek Foreign Ministry, Grigoris Delavekouras, remarked, «Agreements must be honored, this is something that Mr Bagis should be aware of as the official responsible for [Turkey’s] EU accession talks.» Diplomats have attributed the aggressive shift in Ankara’s attitude toward Athens to the European Commission’s recent calls on Turkey to honor a bilateral pact with Greece for the repatriation of illegal immigrants.