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Turkey threatens EU 'freeze' over Cyprus

By the CNN Wire Staff
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Ankara warns against letting Cyprus assume the EU presidency
  • It's scheduled to take over for the second half of 2012
  • Cyprus has been divided since a 1974 Turkish invasion following a coup

(CNN) -- Turkey will freeze relations with the European Union if Cyprus assumes the presidency of the group of nations, Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Besir Atalay said, the official Turkish news agency reported Sunday.

Anadolu did not elaborate on what that would mean in practice.

Atalay was on a visit to the self-declared Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, which is not recognized internationally.

Turkish troops invaded Cyprus in 1974 in response to a coup d'etat there, engineered by by Greece, which was run by a military dictatorship at the time.

The island remains divided despite years of efforts to resolve the deadlock. The southern part of the island joined the European Union on its own after unity efforts failed.

Cyprus is scheduled to take over the rotating six-month leadership of the EU in the second half of 2012, on a schedule that was announced in 2007.

Turkey has spent years negotiating to join the European Union.

 
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