BRUSSELS, Belgium – The European Commission is expected to recommend Wednesday that the EU partially suspend entry talks with Turkey, officials said.
The recommendation is to be issued a week earlier than expected because Turkey continues to refuse to open its ports to EU member Cyprus, the officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the issue.
Ankara on Monday rejected a compromise EU proposal to settle its standoff over extending a customs pact to all 10 countries that joined the EU in 2004, including the divided Mediterranean island of Cyprus.
Diplomats and officials confirmed Wednesday that the date for the commission recommendation was moved up because they felt there was no reason to assume Turkey would change its mind on Cyprus.
EU Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn has said he does not favor a full suspension, which he said could cause a severe rift in ties with Ankara. "The train will slow down, but not stop," Rehn said.
Diplomats said the commission could recommend a freeze on six or more of the 35 so-called policy areas in entry talks, including customs, trade and transport issues related to Turkey's refusal to open its borders to Cypriot goods.
Negotiations for Turkey's EU entry talks were launched in October last year.