Turkey should be treated fairly in its EU bid, German FM says

1st July 2011, Comments 0 comments

Turkey, as a strategic key player in its region, should be treated "fairly and respectfully" in its membership negotiations with the European Union, the German foreign minister said here Friday.

"The region around Turkey is going through an historical change. Turkey is playing a key role. This is the reason for a fair and respectful negotiation process in Europe for Turkey's full-membership," the Anatolia news agency quoted Guido Westerwelle as saying.

"We are not talking about commitments or determining certain dates. What is important here is to look each other in the eye from the same equal level and treat each other fairly and respectfully," Westerwelle said in a joint press conference with his Turkish counterpart Ahmet Davutoglu.

Germany, together with France, currently opposes Turkey's accession, instead advocating what has become known as a "special partnership" with the EU for the mainly Muslim nation, an idea Ankara has flatly rejected.

Germany is open accelerating Turkey's membership negotiations to address specific concerns, Westerwelle said, without elaborating.

"I will be in favor of discussing and solving current problems," he said, adding that both Turkey and EU should work on opening new "chapters" in EU commitments.

Turkey and the EU are at an impasse in talks over Ankara's bid to join the 27-nation bloc, which have faltered largely due to a deadlock over the divided island of Cyprus, which joined the union in 2004.

Talks in eight key areas remain frozen due to Turkey's refusal to open its ports to Cyprus, an EU member that Ankara does not recognise owing to the island's 36-year division between its Greek and Turkish communities.

© 2011 AFP

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