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    Political Maneuvering: Turkey Has Alternatives to Entering EU – PM Yildirim

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    Turkey has fulfilled its part of the agreements, necessary to enter the European Union, and now everything depends on Brussels, although Ankara always has alternatives, Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said Saturday.

    ANKARA (Sputnik) – Delivering a speech to the activists of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) in Afyonkarahisar, Yildirim said as quoted by Turkey's NTV broadcaster:

    "Turkey has been on the way to enter the European Union since the middle of the last century, we have fulfilled our part [of the agreements]. After this it is up to the European Union to decide. If it wants Turkey to enter, it should express its will. But Turkey always has alternatives."

    Yildirim added that the prospects of the EU development are related solely to Turkish participation and noted the necessity to simplify the visa rules.

    Turkey signed an association agreement with the then-European Community in 1963, and submitted a membership application in 1987. Talks about Ankara's membership to the European Union began in 2005. The parties managed to agree on 16 out of 35 conditions that Ankara needs to comply with to meet the necessary EU standards.

    The negotiations on Turkish EU membership have been repeatedly suspended because of such disagreements as the Turkish stand on the Cyprus dispute, among others.


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    Justice and Development Party (AKP), European Union, Binali Yildirim, Turkey
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