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Turkey urges EU to weigh cost July 17, 2010

Posted by Yilan in EU, European Union, Turkey.
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TURKEY urged the European Union on Wednesday to contemplate the cost of spurning its candidacy as its troubled talks to join the bloc limped a tiny step foward.

The secular but largely Muslim state has made agonisingly slow progress since opening accession talks five years ago, held back by resistance in key EU states as well as by failure to speed up democratic reforms and patch up relations with Cyprus.

Ankara has repeatedly expressed disappointment over the pace of negotiations, covering 35 policy areas known as ‘chapters’, and said the EU needs to recognise Turkey’s importance to the bloc’s foreign policy goals.

‘It is time to think … about the cost of leaving Turkey outside,’ Egemen Bagis, Turkey’s chief negotiator, told a news conference after agreeing on the opening of talks on food safety and veterinary rules with EU officials.

Turkey has concluded only one chapter so far and opened 13.

Deflecting Turkey’s frustration, EU Enlargement Commissioner Stefan Fuele said Wednesday’s move gave ‘tangible evidence of the commitment of the EU to pursue progress’.

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