BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific Russian Polish Albanian Greek Czech Ukrainian Serbian Turkish Romanian
BBCi NEWS   SPORT   WEATHER   WORLD SERVICE   A-Z INDEX     

BBC News World Edition
 You are in: Europe  
News Front Page
Africa
Americas
Asia-Pacific
Europe
Middle East
South Asia
UK
Business
Entertainment
Science/Nature
Technology
Health
-------------
Talking Point
-------------
Country Profiles
In Depth
-------------
Programmes
-------------
BBC Sport
BBC Weather
SERVICES
-------------
LANGUAGES
EDITIONS
Friday, 6 December, 2002, 13:13 GMT
Turkey rejects 2005 for EU talks
Recep Tayyip Erdogan
Mr Erdogan says Turkey has met the EU's criteria
The leader of Turkey's new governing party, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, has rejected a proposal to give the country a conditional start date of 2005 for its membership talks with the European Union.

Speaking on television, Mr Erdogan said Turkey has been waiting for more than 40 years at Europe's door and that history would not forgive a new delay.


If you impose a new delay on Turkey, which has been waiting more than 40 years at Europe's door... history will not forgive you

Recep Tayyip Erdogan
His comments come after the French President, Jacques Chirac, said Germany and France would back opening membership talks in 2005, if Turkey met the accession criteria.

The two countries suggest that EU leaders meet at the end of 2004 to evaluate the progress on political reforms and human rights in Turkey.

Turkey argues it has met most of the conditions set for membership talks, and has challenged the EU to prove it is not just a Christian club.

Turkey, which applied for membership in 1987 but was only formally declared a candidate 12 years later, wants EU leaders to give it a firm date to start membership talks at the forthcoming summit on enlargement in Copenhagen, Denmark.

Muslim majority

Of the candidate countries to enter the union, the mainly Muslim country is the only one that has so far failed to open accession talks, prompting accusations from Ankara that European leaders are discriminating against Turkey.

Mr Erdogan argued that Turkey came closer to meeting the criteria for membership than the other candidate countries.

"Whether or not the EU takes us in, we are meeting the Copenhagen criteria to elevate the living standards of our people. That is our real aim. We won't stop because they don't admit us," Mr Erdogan said in a television interview late on Thursday.

"We will ask that [the deadline] does not extend beyond 2003," he said.

In August, Turkey adopted a number of major reforms intended to boost its EU credentials, among them the abolition of the death penalty and increased freedoms for the Kurdish minority.


Key stories

Europe's new frontiers

Background

CLICKABLE GUIDES

LaunchIN PICTURES

TALKING POINT

AUDIO VIDEO
See also:

05 Dec 02 | Europe
02 Dec 02 | Europe
02 Dec 02 | Europe
25 Oct 02 | Europe
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Europe stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Europe stories

© BBC ^^ Back to top

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East |
South Asia | UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature |
Technology | Health | Talking Point | Country Profiles | In Depth |
Programmes