Turkey: Full EU Membership or NothingBulgaria in EU | October 12, 2011, Wednesday // 20:18| views
A Turkish man stands in front of Turkish flag during a ceremony marking the 71st death anniversary of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk at the mausoleum dedicated to his memory in Ankara,Turkey, 10 November 2009. Photo by EPA/BGNES
Turkey has made it clear that it won't accept anything less than full membership to the European Union even though the bloc's executive offered the country an alternative to its deadlocked accession negotiations.
"Full membership to the [European] Union is Turkey's only goal, no other goals can be accepted," Turkish European Affairs Minister Egemen Bagis told a news conference.
The statement came shortly after the release of the latest EC progress report, which urged the EU to continue talks with Turkey but said no progress was achieved in the last year.
It also expressed concern about tension between Turkey and EU-member Cyprus.
Bagis said the report was out of focus.
Turkey's accession bid - stalemated by deepening rows with Cyprus and Franco-German opposition to its membership - is seen as the most troubled, having registered no progress in EU talks for over a year.
As a way out of the deadlock, the commission called for the pursuit of 'informal' ties on economic, trade, foreign policy and migration issues.
'A new positive agenda in EU-Turkey relations needs to be developed, to enable a more constructive relationship based on concrete steps in areas of common interest,' it said in a statement.
EU Enlargement Commissioner Stefan Fule said he wanted to ensure that 'a key country like Turkey does not become a hostage of the stalemate.'
He dismissed suggestions that he was paving the way for a 'privileged partnership' - the solution France and Germany are sponsoring as an alternative to Turkey's fully-fledged EU entry.
The country was chided for its recent spat with Cyprus over offshore oil and gas drilling, which is being pursued in cooperation with Israel - a foe of Ankara - and without the involvement of Turkish-sponsored northern Cypriot authorities.
Turkey said it would break off relations with the EU once the Republic of Cyprus takes over the bloc's rotating presidency in late 2012.
Brussels urged it 'to refrain from any kind of threat, sources of friction or action, which could negatively affect neighbourly relations and the peaceful settlement of border disputes.'
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