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EU Says Turkey Must Speed Up Reforms


The European Union's enlargement commissioner says Turkey must commit to recognizing Cyprus and move on substantial political and human rights reforms this year, if it wants to avoid serious problems in its EU entry negotiations.

Olli Rehn expressed concern that the reform process has lost its momentum, and said further progress was "absolutely necessary" this year for Turkey to continue its talks with the EU as scheduled. He made the remarks Tuesday to the European Parliament's foreign affairs committee.

Turkey has extended its customs union agreement with EU states to the 10 newest members, including Cyprus, which were admitted to the bloc in 2004.

However, Turkey does not recognize the Greek-Cypriot government in Nicosia and has linked opening its ports to the end of international isolation of the Turkish Cypriot community.

Cyprus has been divided between the Turkish Cypriot north and the internationally recognized Greek Cypriot south since 1974, when Turkish troops invaded in response to a Greek-backed military coup.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.
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