BRUSSELS (UPI)–Ankara received pledges of support for its accession to the European Union from the EU presidency and the European Commission despite modest opposition.
Olli Rehn, the EU commissioner for enlargement, said the commission is committed to the Turkish accession process following talks with Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu in Brussels.
Rehn described Turkish membership to the European Union as a “fundamental interest” of the bloc, but added the accession process would be long, the EU Observer reports.
Turkey should continue its reform process by enhancing “fundamental freedoms, such as freedom of expression, freedom of the media as well as women’s rights, trade union rights,” he said.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Turkey should receive a privileged partnership with the EU rather than full membership, while Greek officials oppose membership based on disputes over Cyprus.
Despite the opposition, Czech Foreign Minister Jan Kohout, whose country holds the European presidency, backed Turkish accession as did Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt, whose country assumes the presidency in July.
Turkey opened talks with the EU for membership in 2005.