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EU Says Turkey Needs to Reform to Join Body

A top European Union official urged Turkey Tuesday to press forward with political reforms and show flexibility in the difficult dispute over Cyprus.

The EU Commissioner of Enlargement, Olli Rehn, says Turkey needs to show commitment to reform if it hopes to gain membership in the bloc.

Rehn is in Turkey this week to mark the first anniversary of the country's bid to join the EU.

The EU's executive commission is expected to release an evaluation of Turkey's reforms early next month (November 8).

The EU is asking Turkey to reform laws restricting freedom of expression. It also has asked Turkey to open its ports and airports to Greek Cypriot ships and planes.

Turkey does not have any relations with the Greek-led Cypriot government, which is an EU member.

Cyprus has been split between a Greek Cypriot south and a Turkish Cypriot north since 1974, when Turkish troops invaded the island in response to a Greek-backed military coup. The Mediterranean island joined the EU in 2004.

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