EU nations urge Turkey's new gov't to stick to reforms

EU chief says that Erdogan "has given his personal commitment to the sustained movement towards" the EU.

erdogan 298.88 (photo credit: AP)
erdogan 298.88
(photo credit: AP)
European Union nations urged Turkey's new government on Monday to stick to political and economic reforms to meet EU entry requirements, despite misgivings about the country joining the bloc. Britain's Foreign Secretary David Miliband said it was important for the 27-nation bloc to "reach out" to Turkey a day after it re-elected an Islamic-rooted ruling party, to ensure it keeps to Western-minded reforms. "It is very important that across Europe we reach out to the new government in Turkey when it is formed," Miliband told reporters arriving for EU foreign ministers talks. "A stable and secure political situation in Turkey is massively in our interest and we will certainly want to be taking forward our links with this very very important country," he said. Austrian Foreign Minister Ursula Plassnik said everyone was "interested in having a modern, dynamic, successful Turkey as a partner" for the EU. "We expect the government ... to continue with even more ambition," she said. European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso welcomed Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's victory. "This comes at an important moment for the people of Turkey as the country moves forward with political and economic reforms," Barroso said in a statement. The EU chief said that Erdogan "has given his personal commitment to the sustained movement towards" the EU. With more than 99 percent of votes counted, television news channels were projecting Erdogan's Justice and Development Party would win 341 of the 550 seats, down from 351 in the outgoing parliament. Sweden's Foreign Minister Carl Bildt Erdogan had a new "impressive mandate" to forge ahead with more political and economic reforms. "It's important that the government move ahead and demonstrate a commitment to that mandate," he said. The 27-nation bloc, while divided over whether Turkey should one day join the EU, continues to spur Ankara to continue reforms to keep its membership bid on track. Entry negotiations which were launched two years ago are going slowly, however, due to new objections from France's President Nicolas Sarkozy, who opposes Turkey's bid to join.