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MARK AUSTIN THOMAS: Turkey has been hoping to boost its economy through membership in the EU, but that prospect is likely to suffer a setback today. The European Commission is expected to “partially suspend” the talks on Turkey’s application to join the trading block. The news comes in spite of backing for Turkish membership from no less a figure than the Pope. From London, Stephen Beard reports
BEN GILBERT: The Pontiff is on a fence-mending mission. He’s trying to soothe Turkish ill-feeling after remarks he made that were apparently anti-Islamic.
The remarks had fuelled a widespread feeling among the Turks that they’re not welcome in a Christian Club like the EU. But after the Pope’s arrival yesterday, the Turkish Prime Minister made a surprising revelation.
He said, the Pope told me that he would like Turkey to become a member of the EU.
Nevertheless European officials are about to recommend the scaling down of Turkey’s membership talks.
The problem is Cyprus. Turkey still refuses to recognize the Greek Cypriot part of the island. So in spite of the Papal blessing, Turkey’s membership of the EU seems as distant as ever.
In London, this is Stephen Beard for Marketplace.
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