Turkey's EU entry talks likely to be delayed

The European Commission will likely recommend Wednesday that the EU partially suspend entry talks with Turkey - issuing its report a week early because of Ankara's steadfast refusal to open its ports to Cyprus, officials said. The commission had warned Turkey that its failure to extend a customs pact to EU member Cyprus could rupture the continuation of EU membership talks that began in October 2005. But Ankara on Monday rejected a compromise EU proposal to settle the standoff over Cyprus, which remains divided between the Turkish-held north and the internationally recognized Greek Cypriot south. Diplomats and officials said Wednesday that the date for the commission recommendation was moved up a week because they felt there was no reason to assume Turkey would change its mind on Cyprus. Finnish Prime Minister Matti Vanhanen, whose country holds the rotating EU presidency, will visit Turkey on Friday in a last-ditch attempt to sway Turkey before a mid-December summit where EU leaders will make a final decision on Turkey's membership negotiations.