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London: ‘Strong case’ for Turkey’s in EU April 9, 2011

Posted by Yilan in Human rights abuses.
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Turkish President Abdullah Gul meets with Iran's Leader Ayatollah Khamenei in Tehran
Turkish president Abdullah Gul waves to the media during his farewell ceremony in Tehran.

The British government sees a strong case for Turkey joining the European Union but wants to see movement on the Cyprus issue, the British prime minister said.

The European Parliament issued a report in March on the accession process for Turkey, which became a formal candidate to join the European Union in 1999.

Ankara in September passed a constitutional reform package meant to address concerns raised by the EU in the accession process.

European lawmakers pointed out, however, concerns about Turkish acrimony with Cyprus, declines in press freedoms, honor killings and the lack of protection for religious minorities.

British Prime Minister David Cameron said during a London meeting with his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan that Turkish aspirations to join the EU were encouraged.

“I will continue to champion Turkey’s accession,” he said during a news conference. London, he added, wants to see a settlement to the situation in Cyprus.

Erdogan said “the Greek-Cypriots so far have unfortunately not adopted a positive approach to this settlement.”

Cyprus has been divided into a Republic of Cyprus and the Turkish-occupied north since 1974. Ankara doesn’t recognize the Republic of Cyprus, an EU member.

A Turkish envoy to the EU said last year that Ankara wouldn’t give up on the issue for the sake of accession nor would it abandon accession for the sake of Cyprus.

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