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Ankara frustrated with EU courtship

June 20, 2011 at 11:01 AM   |   Comments

ANKARA, Turkey, June 20 (UPI) -- The European Union won't have a very big influence in Ankara's efforts at modernizing its political and legal system, a European envoy said.

Turkish efforts to join the European Union hit a snag last year because of opposition expressed by several European governments.

Some European lawmakers expressed concerns about Turkish acrimony with Cyprus, declines in press freedoms, honor killings and the lack of protection for religious minorities.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, after securing a third term in office during elections this month, promised to draft a modern constitution for his country.

Selim Kuneralp, the Turkish envoy to the EU, told the EUobserver that Ankara would consider European recommendations.

"But in the absence of any clear perspective of accession, there's no reason why Turkey should align its legislation toward narrow EU standards," Kuneralp said. "To put it simply, the EU has lost its leverage on Turkey."

He said even with shifts in the Turkish political system, there is little taste for rekindling the accession process.

"People in Ankara are fed up," he told the news agency.

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