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British PM Supports Turkey's Bid to Join European Union

British Prime Minister David Cameron has promised to fight for Turkey's stalled bid to join the European Union. Mr. Cameron made the remarks during his first visit to Turkey as Britain's prime minister.

British Prime Minister David Cameron says he is angry that Turkey has not been allowed to join the European Union.

"You can really feel that there is a shared vision between us - both strongly wanting Turkey to become a full member of the European Union; both believing it is unfair that Turkey should be asked to guard the camp, but not sit in the tent," sadi Mr. Cameron.

The European Union first opened formal talks with Turkey in 2005 on allowing the majority Muslim country to become a full EU member. But there are 35 policy areas that must be negotiated, and talks have opened in only 13 of them.

Turkey's refusal to open its sea and air ports to Cyprus has proved a major stumbling block.

But Mr. Cameron says Turkey serves as a link between East and West.

"Together we can work to try to resolve problems, whether it is our shared view that Iran should not have a nuclear weapon or whether it is our shared view that, in the Middle East, we need to go to direct talks between Israel and the Palestinians," he said.

Last month, Turkey voted against tougher U.N. sanctions on Iran for continuing its sensitive nuclear work.

Fadi Hakura, who runs the Turkey Project at London's Chatham House, says Turkey would be a useful addition for the European Union.

"It would gain a very important partner in the Middle East, in Central Asia, in the Caucasus; a country that is also a key transit point for oil and gas, a vibrant growing economy, a young population and a very very entrepreneurial society," said Hakura.

But he says it is unlikely to happen in the near future.

"At the moment it looks very unlikely that Turkey will join any time soon," he added. "There are deep apprehensions towards Turkey's membership from the European public as well as also from key members of the European Union, such as France and Germany. And for that reason, it is likely to take quite a long time - if at all - for Turkey to join the European Union."

French President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel say they would like Turkey to have a "privileged partnership" with the bloc, rather than full membership.