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Turkey welcomes EU's enlargement conclusions

12-15-2010 18:12 BJT

ANKARA, Dec. 15 (Xinhua) -- Turkey welcomed the "Enlargement Conclusions" released by the Council of the European Union on Tuesday while objecting the Council's criticism against Turkey over the Cyprus issue, Turkish Foreign Ministry said late Tuesday night.

The ministry said in a statement that it welcomed the Council's conclusions in general which praised Turkey's continued commitment to the accession negotiation process and the political reform agenda.

"The determination of our government as to advancing the negotiation process and continuing with the reforms grows stronger with the support of our people," said the ministry, adding that it would intensify its efforts to achieve the final goal of EU membership.

Meanwhile, the ministry said the conclusions on the Cyprus issue were "incompatible with international law," noting that the right platform to address the Cyprus issue was not the conclusions of the Council but the ongoing peace talks between the Turkish and Greek Cypriots conducted under the auspices of the UN secretary- general.

In its "Enlargement Conclusions," which will be presented to the EU summit to be held next week, the Council praised Turkey's commitment to the EU accession process, while criticizing Turkey's failure to open its ports to Greek Cypriot vessels.

Turkey became an EU candidate country in December 1999 and launched accession talks with the EU in October 2005, but only 13 out of 35 chapters, or negotiating areas, have been opened so far.

Eight chapters remain frozen since 2006 because Turkey refuses to open its ports to Greek Cypriot government, a member state of the EU.

Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkey militarily intervened and occupied the north of the island following a coup by a group of Greek officers. The politically isolated northern part of Cyprus, or the self-claimed Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, is only recognized by Turkey.

The leaders of Cyprus' two rival communities restarted direct peace talks in 2008 under the UN auspices, trying to reunited the island divided since 1974 under a federal structure. But the two sides have so far failed to make any breakthrough.



Editor:Zhang Pengfei |Source: Xinhua

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