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Turkey Rues Half-Century Wait for EU as Entry Talks Restart

Turkey voiced disappointment with the dawdling pace of its bid to join the European Union after the EU moved to restart entry talks following a three-year hiatus.

“With one flower, spring doesn’t come,” Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu told reporters in Brussels today. “With this speed, we might have to wait another half century to complete the process.”

Davutoglu was reacting to an EU pledge to move ahead next month with a process that had been stalled by objections by European countries such as France and Cyprus and by Turkey’s own concentration on the Middle East.

European interest in Turkey has been revived by concern about the spillover from Syria’s civil war and by the need to reanimate the economy of EU member Cyprus, which is part-occupied by Turkish troops.

Since starting down the EU road in October 2005, Turkey has opened talks in 13 of 35 EU policy areas and completed one. The EU is likely to open another policy area, regional development, in June, Irish Deputy Prime Minister Eamon Gilmore said.

Detecting new momentum in EU-Turkish ties, EU Enlargement Commissioner Stefan Fule said the aim is to “turn this one-flower policy into a full flourishing garden.”

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