EU not forcing Turkey to choose between EU and Cyprus, spokesperson says

February 01, 2011, Tuesday/ 10:44:00

European Commissioner for Enlargement & Neighborhood Policy Stefan Fule's spokesperson has said that the EU was not forcing Turkey to make a choice between the EU membership and Cyprus.

Spokesperson Natasha Butler told the Anatolia news agency on Tuesday that continuation of membership negotiations between Turkey and the EU had a strategic importance both for Turkey and the EU, adding that the EU Commission was committed to Turkey's membership process within the scope of framework agreement of 2005.

Noting that Turkey, too, should be committed to EU process, Butler said that Turkey should exert more efforts to meet the criteria.

Regarding Cyprus issue, Butler said that the EU Commission supported efforts for solution of Cyprus issue, stressing that Turkey's contribution to solution was important.

The EU was not forcing Turkey to make a choice between the EU membership and Cyprus, said Butler, adding that however, Cyprus issue had an influence on many political areas.

A comprehensive solution to Cyprus problem would have positive impacts on Turkey's accession talks, she added.

Commenting on Turkish-Armenian relations, Butler said that good neighborly relations was a part of political criteria which were necessary for EU membership.

Regarding the views of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan who said that the EU needed Turkey, Butler said that the commission was aware of the dynamism of Turkish economy and people, and it could be an important value for the EU.

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