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EU Urges More Turkish Reforms, Ahead of New Talks on EU Entry

The European Union is urging Turkey to improve its record on human rights and press freedoms, and to keep a promise to open its ports and airports to Greek Cypriot traffic.

But EU Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn also says he expects to broaden talks with Ankara in the near future that could lead to Turkey's eventual admission into the 27-nation European bloc.

Rehn's comments came Wednesday in an address to the European Parliament in Strasbourg. He is expected to present an annual progress report on Turkey's EU bid next month.

Analysts say the November 6 report is expected to reflect ideas Rehn and Portuguese European Affairs Minister Manuel Lobo Antunes presented today.

Antunes, whose country holds the rotating EU presidency, said he regrets what he called the lack of progress on freedom of expression in Turkey.

He also urged Turkey to accept the internationally-recognized Greek Cypriot government on the divided island, and to improve religious, cultural and women's rights at home.

EU officials began membership talks with Turkey in 2005. But the union partially suspended negotiations on eight of 35 policy areas, or chapters in December because of Ankara's refusal to grant access to its ports and airports by EU member Cyprus.

The Mediterranean island has been divided since 1974, when Turkish troops invaded in response to a coup in Nicosia aiming at uniting Cyprus with Greece.

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