British PM expected in Turkey for EU talks

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British Prime Minister David Cameron is to pay a two-day visit to Turkey next week for talks on Ankara's troubled bid for European Union membership, an official statement said Wednesday.

During the July 26-27 visit, Cameron will meet his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan to discuss bilateral relations and Ankara's bid to join the EU as well as other issues, a statement from Erdogan's office said.

The two sides will also sign an updated version of the Strategic Partnership Document that lists targets for strengthening bilateral cooperation, it added. The document was first signed in 2007 during a visit by Erdogan to London.

Foreign Secretary William Hague will accompany Cameron on his maiden trip to Turkey as premier.

Britain has been a firm supporter of Turkey's efforts to become an EU member which have been stalled amid opposition from France and Germany as well as a row over the ethnically divided island of Cyprus.

Turkey's accession talks have been partly frozen over its refusal to open its ports to the island's internationally recognized Greek Cypriot government -- a state it does not acknowledge -- under a trade pact with the EU.

Turkey has long sought support from Britain, the island's former colonial power, in efforts to resolve the 36-year conflict.

© 2010 AFP

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