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Turkey warned of EU 'train crash'

Oct. 18, 2006 at 4:35 PM

LUXEMBOURG, Oct. 17 (UPI) -- EU leaders have warned Turkey that Finland's compromise on relations with Cyprus is the only route to speedy membership in the European Union.

The warning that Turkey could be heading for a "train crash" in its quest to join came during a meeting Monday in Luxembourg between the foreign ministers of Turkey, Germany and Finland; Olli Rehn, the EU enlargement director, and Javier Solana, its chief diplomat, The New Anatolian, a Turkish newspaper, reported.

"We may have the last window of opportunity on the Cyprus issue in the coming weeks or months for a very long time, perhaps for years," Rehn told reporters before the meeting.

Under the Finnish proposal, the EU would grant free trade to the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, which is recognized only by Turkey, in return for the hand-over of Varosha, an abandoned town, to Cyprus.

Turkey's failure to develop relations with Cyprus, which is a member of the union, is the major stumbling block. So far, Turkish officials have said that the EU would have to recognize Turkish Cyprus first.

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