A senior U.S. diplomat reaffirmed his country's support to Turkey's EU accession.
Philip Gordon, Assistant U.S. Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, spoke at a meeting of the Hungarian Institute for International Affairs and said the U.S. government would continue to support Turkey's accession to the EU.
"The United States has long supported Turkey's eventual accession to the European Union when it meets the criteria. And that is obviously something for European Union members to decide and it's for Turkey to decide whether it wants to join the European Union," Gordon said.
"But as a friend of the European Union and of Turkey, we can share our view with our European allies that it would be in the long run a positive thing for Turkey and a positive thing for Europe if Turkey ultimately joined the EU. In the past, the incentive of Turkish membership in the EU has been positive for reform efforts in Turkey," he said.
However, Gordon said public opinion polling showed that the number of Turks, who believe that Turkey will eventually join the EU, was declining.
"It's now below 50 percent, and in part as a consequence of that, not exclusively, but in part, the number of Turks who want to join the European Union is declining," Gordon said.
"Our outside view is that it's not a good thing and a Turkey that believes in the promotion of democracy at home, and good neighborly relations and strong relations with Europe, that sort of Turkey is the Turkey we want to see and the aspiration to join the European Union helps to bring that sort of Turkey about," he added.
"We believe just as the EU's open door was critically important in fostering democracy and stability in Central and Eastern Europe for all of those countries who eventually walked through that door. We believe the same holds for Turkey. The European Union accession process has arguably been the greatest democratization strategy anywhere in the history of the world, not to be too hyperbolic about it. And Turkey's future and integration is hugely important to democracy, to Europe and to the United States. So there are hurdles that need to be overcome, there's work that Turkey needs to do, but as a general principle, we think the door should remain open," he said.