UK European Minister Lidington: ”The EU must recognize Turkey's growing influence”
Europe should see Turkey's rising influence in its region as an opportunity, Britain's State Minister responsible for European issues David Lidington said yesterday. Speaking at a press conference at the Foreign Press Association in London, Lidington said Turkey has managed to communicate with countries such as Iran that Europe has been unable to reach. Expressing support for European Union expansion, Lidington said if a European country wants to join the Union and meets the accession criteria, it should have the chance to become a full member. Saying that EU accession leads to political and economic reforms in candidate countries, Lidington added, "We continue to support Turkey's accession. Turkey is an important ally in NATO and the fastest-growing economy in Europe. I believe Turkey's influential position in its region should be seen as an opportunity. Turkey has access to regions that no other European country has been able to reach. For instance, President Abdullah Gul and Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan can meet directly with Iranian officials."