German FM backs Turkey's EU dream

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German FM backs Turkey's EU dream

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Germany’s Liberal foreign minister, Guido Westerwelle, had words of encouragement for Ankara’s bid to join the European Union as he visited Turkey.

Westerwelle insisted agreements reached with the EU so far were “valid” and denied the new government in Berlin was less favourable to Turkish adhesion than the previous one.

“We both know that there is much more to do, he said. The EU has more homework to do and Turkey too, everybody knows this,” he said at a press conference.

Westerwelle was due to discuss the issue further in Istanbul with Turkey’s prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, on Thursday evening.

Turkey is growing increasingly frustrated over the slow pace of adhesion talks which began in 2005.

Sticking points include human rights, press freedom and Cyprus.

Westerwelle urged Turkey to increase efforts to solve the dispute with EU member state Greece over the divided island.

Turkey claims sovereignty over northern Cyprus.