Turkey will not be deterred from EU bid: minister
(BUCHAREST) - Turkey's minister for European affairs insisted Thursday that Europeans would not deter his country from its decades-long bid to join the EU despite the obstacles on its path.
"No country faces as many impediments, as many challenges and difficulties as my country" in its bid for EU membership, Egemen Bagis said in Bucharest, citing, among others, visa requirements and a slow negotiation process.
"Those politicians around Europe who think that by making these difficulties they can make Turkey go away are dead wrong," Bagis said at a conference on Turkey and the EU in the Romanian capital.
"We are here. Every country that has ever started its negotiations, at the end finished its negotiations, so will Turkey, we will not be the first exception," he said in English.
Turks are "known to be very patient", he said, recalling that Ankara first applied to join the European bloc in 1959 and had to wait until 2005 to begin formal accession negotiations.
The talks have stalled over problems relating to EU member Cyprus, whose northern third was invaded and occupied by Turkey in 1974 and countries such as Austria, France and Germany are reluctant to grant full membership.
Romania's minister of European affairs Leonard Orban said he hoped this attitude would change.
"It is absolutely evident from a strategic and security point of view that Turkey's full accession to the EU represents a fundamental interest to us," he said.
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