16/12/2004

DUP and UUP at loggerheads over Turkey EU bid

The DUP and UUP were at loggerheads today over Turkey's possible accession to the EU.

Speaking during a debate in the European Parliament in Strasbourg, DUP MEP Jim Allister described the possible appointment of Turkey as a member of the EU as “shameless expansionism”.

"Are we the European Union or do some have expansionist ambitions beyond the boundaries of Europe? That is a key question thrown up by Turkey's application for EU membership,” Mr Allister said.

However, Ulster Unionist leader in the Lords has given his support “to the Republic of Turkey’s bid to become a full member of the European Union”.

Lord Rogan warned that moves “aimed at blocking Turkish accession to Europe’s political and economic union” would send an extremely negative message to the Islamic world.

Speaking during a House of Lords Debate on the issue, he said: “Turkey remains a key security partner of NATO and Europe and, with the largest army in Europe, it is now more important than ever that it plays a full role in European decision making on security issues.”

A decision on Turkey’s application for EU membership is likely to be decided during an EU summit in Brussels on Thursday and Friday between the 25 members.

(MB)

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