Turkey dismisses any alternative to EU membership

ANKARA, Turkey

Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu rejected on Friday (May 8th) any alternative to full EU membership for Turkey. “All we ask of the EU is to keep its promises. Proposing alternative memberships is disrespectful not to us, but to the European culture itself,” Davutoglu told a meeting with EU ambassadors in Ankara.

“We are ready to meet our commitments, but we are expecting our European friends to act in line with the basic moral principles of Europe,” Davutoglu stressed. On Tuesday, French President Nicolas Sarkozy suggested the EU should create a common economic and security space with Turkey, as an alternative to membership in the Union.

Also Friday, Turkey’s chief negotiator with the EU, Egemen Bagis, pledged Ankara will speed up pro-EU reforms, including necessary constitutional amendments. “We have a period of two to three years with no elections and this is a crucial period to pass reforms,” Bagis said. Turkey began EU membership talks in October 2005, but it has so far opened only ten of the 35 negotiation chapters, mainly due to the Cyprus issue and opposition from France and Germany.

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