Greek push for Turkey

Ankara yesterday expressed disappointment and anger at the European Commission’s decision not to recommend a starting date for accession talks between the EU and Turkey. But for the first time, the dashing of Turkey’s European aspirations could not be blamed on Greece, as the government of Prime Minister Costas Simitis has repeatedly said that it supports Turkey’s European orientation and will work to promote it as EU president in the first half of next year. «Greece is the country which has stressed that it wants to see Turkey’s progress toward Europe to continue and that there will be a positive message coming from the summit in Copenhagen, when we will decide on all the candidate countries,» Foreign Minister George Papandreou said yesterday. He noted that the Commission’s report spoke of progress made by Bulgaria and Romania which, the report said, could join the EU by 2007.