BRUSSELS, Oct. 27 (UPI) -- Ankara could do more to address civil liberties and press freedom as it tries to become a member of the European Union, an enlargement commissioner said.
Ankara in September passed a constitutional reform package meant to address concerns raised by the European Union in the accession process.
Stefan Fule, the European commissioner for enlargement and neighborhood policy, said the effort was welcome but Ankara could do more to implement the provisions and address civil liberty concerns.
Egemen Bagis, Turkey's European affairs minister, said most members of Turkish society wanted to join the European Union. Ankara, he added in his statements to European lawmakers, was having a tough time, however, explaining why the EU was still "delaying the accession process."
Ankara has moved on a series of concessions meant to meet the policy requirements to join Europe but faces obstacles on various provisions over the island of Cyprus.
Cyprus has been divided into a Republic of Cyprus and the Turkish-occupied north since 1974. Ankara doesn't recognize the Republic of Cyprus, an EU member.
European lawmakers were divided over the issue, though the Turkish envoy said Ankara wouldn't give up on the issue for the sake of accession nor would it abandon accession for the sake of Cyprus.