Merkel Worried about Turkey: Situation Is "Very, Very Serious"
With Turkey still refusing to open up its ports to European Union member Cyprus, German Chancellor Angela Merkel sees accession talks with Ankara in grave danger.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel wants to see action from Turkey.
She said that she cannot imagine negotiations continuing without concessions made by Ankara toward opening up its ports to Cypriot ships. A last ditch effort on Friday by the Finnish EU presidency to resolve the deadlock between Turkey and Cyprus failed to produce a solution. President of northern Cyprus Mehmet Ali Talat rejected the deal saying he wasn't getting enough in return. The proposal would have seen the Turkish-controlled part of the island turn over the port of Famagusta to EU control and to cede Varosha -- a former seaside resort -- to the Greek Cypriots. In return, the EU would lift its embargo on northern Cyprus.
The diplomatic flurry comes just days before a progress report on Turkey's accession process is to be issued by the European Commission. The report is widely expected to be scathing.
The Süddeutsche interview provides a preview as Merkel is set to take over the EU presidency in January and marks the first extensive interview focusing on her plans and hopes for her six-month stint. European energy policy, a common EU position on combating global warming and cutting back on bureaucracy within the EU are all projects she hopes to further while in office.
Merkel once again seemed to indicate her skepticism regarding a further expansion of the EU. While she said that the Balkan countries need to be given the opportunity to join the 25-nation club -- "otherwise our great efforts at stability will be for naught" -- she makes clear that further expansion should be treated with caution.
"When it comes to geographic borders, we have to develop an ambitious policy with regards to our neighbors," she said. We have to "make clear: We're not rejecting you but we can't promise you full membership."
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