Page last updated at 17:15 GMT, Friday, 26 June 2009 18:15 UK

Turkey to 'never give up' EU bid

Turkish PM Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Brussels, 26 June 09
Mr Erdogan said Turkey deserved better treatment in the negotiations

Turkey has urged France and Germany to back its bid to join the EU, rejecting calls for a special partnership rather than full membership.

"We will never give up," Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan told reporters in Brussels.

Turkey's EU accession talks are going at a glacial pace and risk suspension if Ankara fails to open its ports and airports to Cyprus this year.

France and Germany want to give Turkey a "privileged partnership" with the EU.

But Mr Erdogan insisted "our goal is full membership".

He also said it was "populist and wrong" to use Turkey's bid as an election issue.

Some right-wing parties opposed to Turkey's bid made gains in the recent European Parliament elections.

Slow progress

The BBC's Oana Lungescu says both opposition inside the EU and insufficient democratic reforms in Turkey are hampering its bid.

Next week will see a small step forward, when Turkey is due to start talks on taxation, one of the 35 areas where it is negotiating EU entry terms.

Turkish diplomats argue that their country is of strategic importance to Europe and that its eventual accession would send a positive signal to the whole Muslim world.

So far, Turkey has opened talks on 10 out of the 35 "negotiation chapters" in the accession process, which started in October 2005.

But eight chapters have been frozen because of Ankara's refusal to open up its ports and airports to traffic from Cyprus, an EU member.

Turkey says it will not do this until the EU takes steps to end the Turkish Cypriot community's economic isolation.

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