EU parliament committee cancels Turkey visit

EU parliament committee cancels Turkey visit
Thu Jun 20, 2013 07:35:36

A European Parliament committee has postponed a visit to Turkey due to take place Wednesday and Thursday because of sharp criticism of the parliament by the Turkish authorities.

"In the face of the declarations made by representatives of the government of Turkey, the committee has decided to postpone its visit," said Elmar Brok, who chairs the parliament's foreign affairs committee.

"I regret this. Turkey is and remains an important partner for the EU but should understand how to deal with criticism," he added.

"We will pursue contacts with our counterparts in Turkey to re-establish a constructive dialogue with them."

Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu last week rejected European criticism of his country's handling of two weeks of anti-government unrest.

"This approach is unacceptable," he said in response to a resolution by members of the European Parliament condemning the excessive use of force by police against protesters.

Turkey has applied for European Union membership and in 1999 was granted the status of an EU candidate country.

The EU opened accession talks with Turkey in 2005, but negotiations have been held up over German and French opposition as well as Ankara's refusal to recognize the divided island of Cyprus, which joined the EU in 2004.

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