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Gates Says EU Pushing Turkey 'Eastward'

Progress on Turkey's EU accession bid has slowed in recent months.
U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates says that the European Union has pushed Turkey "eastward" by its reluctance to accept the country swiftly as a member.

Gates, speaking in London, said the United States and its allies need to "think long and hard about why" policies have changed in Turkey and about what can be done to make stronger ties with the West "more apparently of interest and value" to Turkey's leaders.

Turkey’s preliminary negotiations on EU membership have slowed, partly because of French and German leaders’ reluctance to accept it into the bloc.

Gates also voiced concern over the deterioration in relations between Turkey and Israel following a deadly Israeli aid on an aid flotilla bound for the Gaza Strip that left nine Turkish pro-Palestinian activists dead.

compiled from agency reports