Europe calls on Turkey to get serious about association

March 12, 2014 at 12:49 PM
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STRASBOURG, France, March 12 (UPI) -- Ankara needs to show its commitment to meeting European standards on justice and freedom of expression, the European Parliament said Wednesday.

Turkey aspires to a closer relationship with the European Union. Members of the European Parliament passed a resolution Wednesday saying it had "deep concerns" about the pace of reforms in Turkey.

"Recent developments in the area of fundamental freedoms, independence of the judiciary, freedom of expression and others are however a cause of grave concern for us," Parliament's special envoy on Turkey Ria Oomen-Ruijten said. "We now need a serious, constructive dialogue with Turkey on these subjects and Turkey needs to show true commitment to its European aspirations and to the values upon which the EU is founded."

European Commissioner for Neighborhood Policy Stefan Fule addressed members of Parliament on the issue of Turkey's association. He said Wednesday there were a number of "positive developments" but also many "serious" concerns.

EU leaders have said there was a "strong desire" from both sides to advance talks further.

The latest phase of accession talks -- Chapter 22, dealing with regional policy -- began Nov 5.

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