Greek gifts mollify Turks
Known for his commentary on international relations and US politics, Rupert Cornwell also contributes obituaries and occasionally even a column for the sports pages. With The Independent since its launch in 1986, he was the paper's first Moscow correspondent - covering the collapse of the Soviet Union – during which time he won two British Press Awards. Previously a foreign correspondent for the Financial Times and Reuters, he has also been a diplomatic correspondent, leader writer and columnist, and has served as Washington bureau editor. In 1983 he published God's Banker, about Roberto Calvi, the Italian banker found hanging from Blackfriars Bridge.
Saturday 04 September 1999
Breaking a three-year logjam, Greece has signalled it will drop objections to a customs accord between the EU and Turkey and free $500m (pounds 310m) of European Investment Bank loans to Ankara. Support is also growing for Turkey to be formally designated as a candidate for EU membership at the European summit in Helsinki in December.
Robin Cook, Foreign Secretary, this week promised his Turkish counterpart, Ismail Cem, that Britain fully backed such a step - as do most other EU countries, but not Greece. The candidacy issue has soured relations since the 1997 EU summit in Luxembourg, when Turkey was outraged by its exclusion from the group of 11 countries who are in line for accession to the EU.
This included most of the ex-Communist states of East Europe and the Greek portion of Cyprus. Given continuing Greek objections, there is no guarantee Helsinki will produce a clear-cut go-ahead.
In an interview with The Independent, Mr Cem said that another rejection in Helsinki could prompt a humiliated Turkey to turn its back on Europe. "If things go wrong again, then I don't think we'll be trying again."
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