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Friday, December 31, 2004

No customs union, no EU talks

"No customs union, no EU talks
By Staff Reporter

IF TURKEY does not sign the protocol adapting the Ankara Agreement to extend to all 10 new members of the European Union, it cannot begin accession negotiations, President Tassos Papadopoulos said yesterday.

He also pointed out that the EU sets out the conditions a candidate country must meet and that it is up to that country to meet them.

�Turkey has applied for EU membership and if it does not comply with the terms laid down, accession talks will not start,� Papadopoulos said.

His comments were in response to statements by Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan that Ankara has not signed the conclusions of the EU summit, which he said were unilateral decisions and that therefore Turkey was not obliged to sign the protocol extending its customs union agreement to all 10 new members, including Cyprus, which Ankara does not recognise.

�If Ankara wants, it will not sign the protocol. If it does not sign it, it will not start membership talks,� Papadopoulos reiterated."