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EU reaffirms commitment for Turkish EU accession

07-14-2010 08:37 BJT

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The European Union has reaffirmed its commitment for Turkey's EU accession. The issue has been discussed during a meeting between the EU foreign affairs and security chief, the EU Enlargement Commissioner,the Turkish Foreign Minister and EU Affairs Minister.

Tuesday's meeting is the first such ministerial gathering since the Lisbon Treaty came into force in 2009. The meeting was held amid U.S. criticism that Europe's rebuff of Ankara's EU aspirations is pushing the pivotal country "eastward." EU Enlargement Commissioner Stefan Fule reiterated that the European Union was committed to the Muslim country becoming a full member. EU Foreign Affairs and Security Chief Catherine Ashton also indicated hopes for further cooperation.

Catherine Ashton, EU Foreign Affairs and Security Chief, said, "Turkey is a candidate country and at the same time an important partner for the European Union's foreign policy. We both share the same goals, namely security, peace, stability and prosperity in the region and beyond. And to achieve this, what we have been doing today, we are looking for ways to strengthen our co-operation and improve the co-ordination of our efforts."

European Union High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherine Ashton, center, chats with Turkey's Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, right, and Turkey's State Minister for EU Affairs Egemen Bagis after a Turkey-EU Ministerial Political Dialogue meeting in Istanbul, Turkey, Tuesday, July 13, 2010.
European Union High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security
 Policy Catherine Ashton, center, chats with Turkey's Foreign 
Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, right, and Turkey's State Minister for 
EU Affairs Egemen Bagis after a Turkey-EU Ministerial Political 
Dialogue meeting in Istanbul, Turkey, Tuesday, July 13, 2010.

Turkey has been irked by the slow progress in formal negotiations on its accession to EU, which began five years ago. Turks suspect some EU states of foot-dragging because of their reluctance to let in a Muslim nation whose membership would mean the EU lost a buffer between itself and the Middle East.

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