France deals Turkey EU blow

Turkey "heartbroken" after references to accession are left out of an EU statement.

    Sarkozy has said in the past that France does not support full Turkish membership of the EU [AFP]
    Portuguese diplomats said that the concessions were made to France to keep negotiations on track.


    Turkey disappointed

    Vulkan Bozkir, Ankara's ambassador to the EU, said the differences in the EU over restating a basic commitment would deepen disenchantment in Turkey.

    "We are heartbroken and tired of waiting"

    Vulkan Bozkir, Turkey's EU ambassador

    "We are heartbroken and tired of waiting," Bozkir said.

    "The EU has lost its leverage on Turkey. It has used up all its ammunition except for stopping the negotiations totally."

    Supporters of Ankara's bid, who include Britain and Sweden, wanted the EU to renew its commitment to admit Turkey if it meets all the membership criteria.
    "We do not see any rationale for backtracking either on the Treaty of Rome or on these commitments," Carl Bildt, Sweden's foreign minister, said before the meeting.

    "There is a very firm majority in the EU for the position being conducted so far."


    David Miliband, Britain's foreign minister, said the EU should adhere to previous resolutions.

    "We recall well the conclusions the European Council [summit] reached last year and we think it's important that the European Union fulfil its responsibilities towards Turkey, but also that Turkey continues the reform process that is an important part of its passage to the European Union," he said.

    The EU statement said the bloc welcomed the strengthening of democracy in Turkey, after it staved off a constitutional crisis in the country over the election of Abdullah Gul, who is now president.

    However, the statement said that Turkey still needs to work on other EU membership criteria.

    "Significant further efforts are also needed in other areas such as judicial reform, the fight against corruption, minority rights and strengthening of cultural rights, women's rights, children's rights, trade union rights and the civilian control of the military," it said.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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