Turkish failure to open ports to Cyprus jeopardises EU hopes
Turkey's hopes of joining the European Union have suffered a blow after a large chunk of its membership negotiations were suspended.
The European Commission proposed freezing eight of the 35 policy areas into which accession talks are divided, because of Turkey's failure to open its ports to Cyprus, which joined the EU in 2004.
The move divided Europe, with Tony Blair, a strong ally of Ankara, arguing that the EU should not send a negative signal to Turkey as this could be "a serious mistake for Europe long-term". President Jacques Chirac said France "was in line with Germany and other partners" that the EU "has no other choice".
The European enlargement commissioner, Olli Rehn, said that the negotiations "must continue at a slower pace", adding: "There will be no train crash. There is a slowing down because of works further down the tracks."
The list of talks to be frozen - which include free movement of goods, agriculture, fisheries, transport policy and customs - was longer than expected by Turkish diplomats but fell well short of the total suspension demanded by some critics of Ankara.
So far, Turkey has provisionally concluded just one chapter, covering science and research, since it began talks in October last year.
Turkish television quoted Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan as having described the recommendation as "unacceptable" in a private conversation with the Italian premier, Romano Prodi - though the words were denied by Mr Erdogan's spokesman.
Turkey had been told to open its ports to Cypriot shipping. Ankara has said that it will only do so if the EU ends the isolation of northern Cyprus.
- 2 18th century sex toy found in 'toilet of sword fighting school' in Poland
- 3 US? China? India? The 10 biggest economies in 2030 will be...
- 4 'I wish my teacher knew...': Young students share their 'heartbreaking' worries in notes
General Election 2015: David Cameron catching up in polls – but he badly needs a clear lead
Alan Rickman admits editing 'terrible' script with friends in Pizza Hut behind backs of writers on Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves
South Africa xenophobic attacks: Shops looted and violence on streets of Johannesburg as foreigners are forced to hide in police stations
18th century sex toy found in 'toilet of sword fighting school' in Poland
'I wish my teacher knew...': Young students share their 'heartbreaking' worries in notes
The only black face in the Ukip manifesto is on the page about overseas aid
If I’m being racially abused I don’t need a stranger with a saviour complex to rescue me
Ukip is the only main political party to not address LGBT rights in its manifesto
Food banks: One million Britons will soon be using them, according to Trussell Trust
BBC election debate: The one photo that summed up the whole 90-minute leaders debate
Religion isn't growing, it is becoming vigorous in its demise, says philosopher AC Grayling
£18000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...
£16500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Chiropractic Assistant is needed in a ...
£18000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...
£28000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company provides coaching ...