The dispute between the two NATO members began in early 2001 when Turkey threatened to block the EU from using NATO assets over fears about any possible future deployment in the Aegean region or in Cyprus. In late 2001, the US, the UK and Turkey agreed the Ankara Text, allowing Turkey a say in such operations. Greece immediately rejected the Ankara Text, again threatening the EU Rapid Reaction Force.
In fear of endangering permanent division of Cyprus and loosing NATO assets by Turkish wrath, Brussels said on Friday that Turkish membership of the European Union would not destroy the grouping, as asserted by the man who is chairing the convention on the EU’s future.
Such downplay of statements from prominent leaders of Europe is common behavior by Brussels. Brussels is in immediate need of Turkey’s good will in solving the Cyprus issue before the divided island becomes a full member of the EU. In fact, many in EU do not want to have a divided island into the institution.
Moreover, Turkish blessing is needed to put European Rapid Reaction Force into effect, since most of the Europe’s military assets are locked in NATO and Europeans are not willing to spent a dime on armament. Yet, Turkey has absolute power in vetoing the usage if those assets by EU. Therefore, Brussels has been constantly downplaying Euro-Christian statements to not to upset Turks. Yet, it is widely believed that, even Brussels has no genuine intention in admitting a predominantly Muslim country with a weak economy.