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Recep Tayyip Erdogan speaking in Strasbourg in June (epa)
December 12, 2006 -- Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has denounced as "unfair" a decision by European Union foreign ministers to slow down Turkey's accession talks.
Late on December 11, the EU foreign ministers agreed to suspend
eight of the 35 negotiating chapters as punishment for Turkey's failure to honor a commitment to open its ports to trade with EU member Cyprus. Turkey does not recognize the Greek Cypriot government.
Erdogan made his first public comments on the decision today in a speech broadcast live on Turkish television.
"Despite our efforts to find ways to overcome the impasse, I am very sorry to say that Turkey-EU relations are passing through a serious test," he said.
The Turkish prime minister also vowed to press on with reforms aimed at preparing Ankara for membership "with the same decisiveness."
The EU decision is expected to be formally adopted at a summit of EU leaders on December 14-15.
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