Turkey, EU hold political dialogue in Istanbul

13:13, July 14, 2010      

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Europe reaffirmed its commitment for Turkish EU accession during the first ministerial-level political dialogue meeting between the two sides in Istanbul on Tuesday.

The EU integration was one of the main topics for discussion during the one-day Turkey-EU Ministerial Political Dialogue Meeting held in Ciragan Palace and was attended by 40 officials from both sides.

Turkey is represented by a delegation headed by Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu and State Minister and chief EU negotiator Egemen Bagis.

EU's High Representative for Foreign Affairs Catherine Ashton and EU Enlargement Commissioner Stefan Fuele participate in the meeting, focusing on Turkey-EU relations, regional and international issues.

"We wish to assure of our commitment to the full membership of Turkey," Fule said, adding that although "there was no doubt about our commitment, there was debate about the speed of progress."

Fule lauded Turkey's zero-hesitation policy regarding EU reforms, and expressed optimism about the new civilian constitution up for referendum on Sept. 12, saying "this constitution package is going in the right direction."

But Davutoglu said that certain EU countries were blocking 18 out of 35 EU membership chapters for political reasons.

Egemen Bagis said that it was important not to prolong negotiations any more, saying "it is time to address the difficult EU membership chapters, not just the symbolic ones."

Regarding the constitution, Bagis said Turkey was now ready with a constitution on par with EU standards.

The closed-door ministerial meeting was the first of its kind since the Lisbon treaty.

Davutoglu said such meetings were critical in strengthening political dialogue between Turkey and the EU. He said the current dialogue mechanisms with the EU were not enough, and "Turkey wishes to be a part of the EU as soon as possible, and it is important to have more comprehensive meetings."

Ashton said many more hours of discussion lies ahead and both Turkey and the EU were constantly looking for ways to improve cooperation.

Source: Xinhua


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