Italian Minister Backs Gates on Turkey Moving “Eastwards”

Italian minister of Foreign Affairs, Franco Frattini, takes journalist questions during a news conference.

From AFP:   Italy’s foreign minister indicated Thursday he agreed with US Defence Secretary Robert Gates that the European Union’s refusal to embrace Turkey had pushed Ankara "eastwards. "

"I think that we Europeans have made a mistake in pushing Turkey eastwards instead of bringing them towards us," Franco Frattini told the Frankfurter Allgemeine German daily in an interview.

"If we give Turkey the impression that we don’t want them as a member of the European Union family then they will have a look around for other perspectives," for example regional powers like Iran and Syria, he said.

"This is not in Europe’s interests … We still have some time. But we have to speed up the membership process" of Turkey joining the 27-nation bloc. …

Frattini said that he and German counterpart Guido Westerwelle wanted to "talk about what we are going to do about Turkey" at a meeting of EU foreign ministers in Luxembourg on Monday.  (photo: Getty)

Image: gettty%206%2010%2010%20%20Franco%20Frattini.jpg