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EU officials back Turkey

The New Anatolian / Ankara
12 June 2007

"Entry negotiations with Turkey must continue," said Olli Rehn, Enlargement Commissioner of the European Union, said on Monday.

In a statement to the German Focus magazine, Rehn indicated that "the EU decided unanimously to begin entry negotiations with Turkey. A candidate country may apply to end negotiations bearing all political responsibility."

Rehn stressed that "the EU's position is clear: we must continue negotiations with Turkey. Turkey is making great efforts to fulfill the requirements of the EU criteria. However, there is a long way for Turkey to fulfill."

Rehn also said Turkey's "accession" to the European club was the defining geopolitical issue of the 21st century. "The greatest challenge of our time is the relationship between Europe and Islam, or more widely between the West and Islam," he said.

" Turkey is an anchor of stability in the most unstable region of the world, in the wider Middle East."

The new French president's pledge to end membership talks later this year, after a deal on a new E.U. treaty is negotiated, has already had a damaging and destabilizing impact, Mr. Rehn said.

Meanwhile, Portugal's chief official in Brussels said Monday his country attaches great importance to progressing negotiations with Turkey.

Alvaro de Mendoca E Moura, the Permanent Representative of Portugal to EU, said on Monday.

Portugal will take over the rotating presidency of the EU from Germany at the beginning of July.

Alvaro de Mendoca E Moura, the Permanent Representative of Portugal to EU, said Turkey will be one of the most challenging issues the Portuguese Presidency of the EU will deal with for six months.

Speaking at the European Policy Center E Moura said "Germany, from which we will take over the presidency, is preparing to launch negotiations with Turkey on new chapters. We will go on the same path."

On the other hand, "we support every type of cooperation among Mediterranean countries," E Moura said when assessing French President Nicolas Sarkozy's Mediterranean Union instead of EU proposal.

Last update: 2007-06-12 10:49:34
Copyright ? 2007 Republic of Turkey Prime Ministry Secretariat General for EU Affairs