EU Aggravated With Turkish Uncooperative Stance

BRUSSELS (Reuters)–EU foreign ministers on Monday slammed NATO member Turkey over its continued refusal to cooperate over a planned 60,000-strong EU military force–which is meant to complement NATO in crisis management tasks. The EU said Turkey’s refusal to allow the creation of the rapid reaction force could harm Ankara’s bid to join the wealthy 15-nation Union.

“The general feeling is that Turkey should not try to slow down the establishment of a European defense policy and that it should use more European methods to defend its position,” French Foreign Minister Hubert Vedrine said.

Ankara deman’s a say in the decision-making of the putative force–fearing that otherwise it could one day be used against Turkish interests in the Aegean and Cyprus–another EU candidate country expected to join the bloc by 2004.

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