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British PM Cameron urges EU membership for Turkey

By the CNN Wire Staff
British PM David Cameron inspects a Turkish honor guard in Ankara on July 27, 2010.
British PM David Cameron inspects a Turkish honor guard in Ankara on July 27, 2010.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: Turkey is currently an official candidate for EU membership
  • British Prime Minister David Cameron says Turkey should join the EU
  • Turkey's membership is "vital" for European security and economy, he says
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(CNN) -- British Prime Minister David Cameron traveled to Turkey on Tuesday and made the case for the country to join the European Union.

Turkey's membership is "vital" for Europe's economy, security, politics, and diplomacy, he said.

"I ask myself this: Which European country grew at 11 percent at the start of this year? Which country will be Europe's second-largest economy by 2050? Which country in Europe has more young people than any of the 27 countries in the EU? Which country in Europe is our number one TV manufacturer -- and second only to China in the world in construction and contracting?" Cameron said, according to prepared remarks.

"Of course, it's Turkey," he then said, in Turkish.

Turkey's position, straddling East and West, gives it credibility and helps it negotiate foreign policy on both sides, Cameron said.

Turkey is currently an official candidate for EU membership.

The EU has pressed the country to make progress on reforms before it becomes a member.

The EU says Turkey must continue with reforms to the judicial system, must make progress against corruption and torture, and must do more to protect citizens' rights, freedom of expression and religion, property rights, respect for minorities, and women's and children's rights.