IN SHORT

Fico: Slovakia supports Turkey's accession to EU

SLOVAKIA supports the accession of Turkey to the EU, Prime Minister Robert Fico said at a meeting of the parliamentary EU Affairs Committee on December 11 as the EU's foreign ministers in Brussels discussed Turkey and its accession negotiations.

According to Fico, both the EU and Turkey would benefit from Turkey's membership in the union. He said the basic condition for Turkey's accession should be its fulfillment of all requirements related to EU accession.

"We will not turn down Turkey because it has a different religion," Fico said.

EU enlargement was the main topic of the session of the Council of Europe in Brussels on December 14-15. With regard to EU enlargement, Slovakia will encourage aspiring EU members in their reform efforts, the Slovak PM said.

On the other hand, Slovakia's conservative opposition party, the Christian Democratic Movement (KDH), issued a statement agreeing with the recommendation of the European Commission that accession talks with Turkey be halted.

"The fact that Turkey is not sufficiently prepared for EU membership is proven especially by its lack of will to open its airports and ports to Cyprus, as well as by its failure to recognize Cyprus. There are also cultural differences that cannot be overlooked," said KDH deputy chairman Martin Fronc, adding that "Turkey was not disqualified by anyone on the basis of religious differences, as PM Fico claims.

"The KDH supports a privileged partnership with Turkey, which can be a result of negations between the EU and Turkey," Fronc said.

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