06 October, 2005
Greece on Wednesday reiterated that the evaluation of Turkey's progress in meeting European Union criteria for eventual accession is directly linked to its commitment in maintaining good-neighborly relations and peacefully solving differences.
Foreign ministry spokesman George Koumoutsakos added that although the phrase "good neighborly relations" is a general term, it was nevertheless included in a Community text for the first time -- and more importantly, a text involving Turkey's European prospects.
Additionally, regarding the prospect of Turkey vetoing the membership of EU candidate-state Cyprus into other international organizations and fora - another political "thorn" affecting Ankara's EU prospects - the spokesman stressed that "if Turkey exhibits a behavior that does not abide by the EU's policy, then the 25 member-states, which include Greece and Cyprus, will judge it; and we will be very strict critics".
Along those lines, he also reminded that unanimity is necessary for EU-Turkey talks to proceed.
Meanwhile, Koumoutsakos said the issue of removing Turkish occupation forces from Cyprus was not a condition of the negotiating framework because conclusions of the 2002 Copenhagen summit "defined, with absolute clarity, what exactly would be evaluated in December 2004, when a date for beginning accession talks with Turkey was given."
He said the question of whether or not Turkey fulfilled the political criteria set at the Copenhagen summit defined the Union's stance in the subsequent period. However, he stressed that the current negotiating framework will be a "strict roadmap in a 10-year mechanism of very stringent monitoring, one that began on Oct. 3."
Referring to paragraph 7 of the negotiating framework, Koumoutsakos said that Turkey "as a candidate country is obliged to align its policies with those of the EU, including its stance regarding a possible participation of member-states in international organizations. This does not dictate to Turkey what it can or cannot do, as it is an independent state".
Effectively, paragraph 7 clearly gives the EU the right to say "this behavior will be judged. It will shape the 25 member-states' opinion as they evaluate the actions of a candidate country," Koumoutsakos added.
Source: Athens News Agency