Hurriyet DN Online with wires
Oluşturulma Tarihi: Ocak 15, 2009 15:11
Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan will start a three-day visit to Brussels Sunday for talks with European Union officials on Turkey's membership bid, his office said Thursday in a statement.
Erdogan would meet Barroso, as well as EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana, European Parliament President Hans-Gert Pottering and the leaders of political groups represented in the assembly, the statement said.
The talks will focus on Turkey's bid to join the EU, but regional issues would also be discussed, it added.
Erdogan will deliver a speech on Turkish-EU relations at a think-tank organization, the European Policy Center, in Brussels on Jan. 19.
Turkey last week appointed Egemen Bagis, a close aide of Erdogan, as the country's first full-time EU negotiator.
Entry negotiations were previously headed by Foreign Minister Ali Babacan. Europeans have long asked for a full-time EU negotiator on the grounds that the foreign minister already has a heavy workload.
Analysts said the appointment indicates Erdogan is trying to show Brussels that Turkey is serious about its EU ambitions.
The government discussed the country's EU bid at a cabinet meeting Monday and voiced its determination to revive the reform process.
Turkey began accession talks in 2005 but has made slow progress due to what analysts attribute to domestic politics, lack of enthusiasm for the bloc at home and a lack of appetite for further enlargement among EU states.