Steinmeier: Turkey Needs to Do More for EU Membership | Europe| News and current affairs from around the continent | DW | 05.10.2008
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Steinmeier: Turkey Needs to Do More for EU Membership

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said further reforms were necessary to put Turkey on the path to European Union membership. He also urged the country to do more to resolve conflicts in the Middle East.

EU and Turkish flags at a mosque in Istanbul

Steinmeier emphasized the need for improved human rights in Turkey

Steinmeier on Saturday, Oct. 4, said Turkey had achieved much in modernizing the country, "but perhaps still not enough to warrant a final decision for accession." The country needed to make progress in ensuring freedom of expression and the rights of women and children.

He was speaking in Hanover on Hannah Arendt Day, a commemoration of the Jewish philosopher born in the city in 1906. The event this year posed the question: Where is Turkey going?

Addressing the event, Cuneyd Zapsu, the co-founder of Turkey's ruling Islamic conservative AKP party and an adviser to Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, said, "We have opened a good path. For Turkey, the EU is always the most important sign post."

Steinmeier said the integration of about 3 million people of Turkish descent in Germany would continue to be promoted and highlighted plans for a German-Turkish university in Istanbul.

The German vice chancellor also urged Turkey to strongly use its "hinge and bridge role" in conflicts in the Middle East.

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