Turkish Foreign Minister Sees 10 Year Accession Process as Realistic

PRAGUE (AFP)–Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul said on Tuesday that he believed it would take his country around 10 years to join the European Union once negotiations got under way.

Speaking during a visit to the Czech Republic–Gul said fulfilling the criteria for accession would not be easy.

"First we need a clear-cut date for accessions to start. We know the negotiation period is not easy–particularly for big countries. And we know as a big country that it will take longer–maybe 10 years," he told a press conference.

"But it depends on our performance when we fulfill the criteria and when we close the chapters," he added.

The EU summit is due to decide in December whether to adopt the European Commission’s recommendation and give the green light to launching accession talks with Ankara.

Gul’s Czech counterpart Cyril Svoboda said the Czech government believed the Commission’s assessment of Turkey was "fair."

"The Czech Republic has made clear that it supports Turkey launching negotiations and that it is right to launch the process," he told journalists.

During Gul’s visit–the two countries agreed to work to cancel visa requiremen’s in the very near future.

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