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Thursday, 25 July, 2002, 10:48 GMT 11:48 UK
Turkey PM warns on Europe delay
turkey stock market
Financial markets fear a political impasse in Turkey
Turkish Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit has warned that the country's progress towards joining the European Union could be delayed by early elections, due for November.


istanbul
Istanbul: Turkey has long desired to join the EU
Turkey and Europe

  • 1987: First application
  • 1999: Accepted as candidate
  • 2001: Turkey passes reforms
  • 2002: European Council welcomes reforms, but gives no date for starting accession talks


  • "Because of the elections the EU work may stall a little," Mr Ecevit told reporters at Ankara airport on his way to Istanbul for a meeting of Turkey's National Security Council.

    Ailing Mr Ecevit, 77, has made it clear over and over again that he does not want early elections, but parliament is due to meet on Monday to officially set a date.

    Opposition parties claim that he is unable to do his job, and that Turkey needs a new government.

    But after defections and resignations had stripped him of ministerial and parliamentary strength, Mr Ecevit relented, agreeing with his coalition partners to elections in November.

    Then he suggested that he was not in favour of elections, pointing out that the most popular party was one commonly described as pro-Islamist.

    Bulent Ecevit
    Bulent Ecevit: Fighting for political survival
    Although he now seems resigned to elections, his comments on Europe show his reluctance.

    Mr Ecevit also gave a warning about the economy, which is recovering from the worst financial crisis since World War II.

    "Some positive indicators have started to turn negative. We will do everything we can to stop this," he said.

    The International Monetary Fund has pledged or paid Turkey more than $30bn to emerge from the crisis.

    Turkey has long desired membership of the European Union, but its application has been held up by EU demands for political, economic and constitutional reforms.

    It also wanted Turkey to meet membership criteria on human rights, democracy and treatment of minorities.

    Last year the government adopted a National Programme for Accession to the European Union to introduce the necessary reforms for entry to Europe.

     WATCH/LISTEN
     ON THIS STORY
    The BBC's Jonny Dymond
    "Mr Ecevit never wanted early elections and he's been highlighting the difficulties they will bring"

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    20 Jul 02 | Europe
    18 Jul 02 | Europe
    28 Feb 02 | Europe
    03 Oct 01 | Europe
    02 Feb 01 | Europe
    22 Jul 02 | Islamic world
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