Finnish and Turkish premiers discuss discuss EU negotiations

Finnish Prime Minister Matti Vanhanen discussed Turkey 's European Union negotiations with his Turkish counterpart Wednesday. Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Finland which assumes the rotating EU presidency in July had been a supporter of opening official negotiations with Turkey to join the EU.

He also told a news conference that the two leaders talked in depth about the conflict over the divided island of Cyprus , which could be an obstacle to Turkey eventually joining the union. Turkey refuses to recognize the Greek-ruled administration of Cyprus , an EU member country, and has stationed tens of thousands of troops on the north of the island since an abortive 1974 coup in an attempt to unite the entire island with Greece .

The breakaway north of the island is ethnically Turkish and has its own government, which is recognized only by Turkey . Trade between Turkey and Finland has risen 35 percent since the end of 2005, Erdogan said. Vanhanen arrived in Turkey on Tuesday night and is scheduled to move on to another EU candidate country, Croatia , for talks on Thursday, reports the AP.


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