UK to help Turkey in bid to join European Union


Britain today announced support to help Turkey in its bid to join the European Union.

On a visit to the country, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said the UK would assist efforts to bring Turkey's judiciary into line with those of EU nations.

A project to raise awareness among Turkish lawyers about common EU practices on judicial affairs and “fundamental rights” will be co-funded out of a British pot for supporting the enlargement of the 27-member bloc.

Britain has been a strong supporter of Turkish accession to the EU - a divisive issue among existing member states - which Mr Clegg said today was a “strategic necessity”.

The Deputy Prime Minister has been leading a British trade push during a two-day visit to Turkey.

At a press conference with Turkey's EU minister Egemen Bagis, Mr Clegg said: “The UK has long supported Turkey's accession to the EU. We view this as a strategic necessity. Consumers and businesses across the EU will benefit from access to Europe's main emerging market.

“Turkey has already taken important strides in implementing the necessary political and economic reforms to prepare for membership. But there's still some way to go.

“With minister Bagis, I am delighted to announce today our support for a joint project which will help Turkey to take further steps to align its judicial system with EU norms.”

Mr Bagis said: “The UK is an important strategic partner who is well aware of all the political, economic and socio-cultural contributions Turkey will make to the EU.”