EPP Vice President: no signature, no accession talks with Turkey
by Athena Arsalidou
Strasbourg, Feb 22 (CNA) -- Turkey cannot start accession negotiations with the European Union unless it signs the Ankara Agreement regarding the extension of the Customs Union Agreement with the ten new member states, including the Republic of Cyprus, Othmar Karas, Vice President of the European People's Party (EPP) Group at the European Parliament, told CNA today.
"I hope Turkey will sign the Agreement of Ankara by the third of October, 2005. If it does not sign it, then we cannot start the negotiations process," he said.
Karas stressed that "It is not possible to have a discussion about a new cooperation between Turkey and the EU and on the other hand see Turkey being against one member state of the EU (Cyprus). This is not acceptable".
The Austrian MEP noted that the Republic of Cyprus has a very important role to play regarding Turkey's European course.
"For my group, the EPP, it is very clear that the relation and cooperation between Turkey and Cyprus on the European law level is a very strong factor in Turkey's negotiation process," he added.
Regarding Sunday's so-called elections in the Turkish occupied part of Cyprus, Karas expressed hope that they will prove to be helpful for the process in reaching a solution to the Cyprus problem.