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Monday, 9 December, 2002, 14:28 GMT
Turkey attacks EU 'double-standards'
Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Danish Prime Minister Anders Rasmussen speaking to reporters
Mr Erdogan reacted to the Danish PM's comment

The leader of Turkey's governing party, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, has attacked the European Union for applying double-standards in its judgements about which countries might join the EU and when.

Turkey has been criticised for its human rights record and a recent report from the European Commission that suggested that the country had not implemented reforms necessary to bring the country into line with European standards.
Recep Tayyip Erdogan
Mr Erdogan said EU should leave aside double standards

With three days to go before EU leaders meet to decide whether or not to give Turkey a date for membership negotiations to start, Tayyip Erdogan responded to hints that Turkey would not get what it wanted with stinging criticism of the EU's judgement.

He was responding to the Danish prime minister's comment that what was needed from Turkey was real changes in human rights.

'Double-standard'

Turkey passed major reforms a few months ago to its legal system but many EU members want to wait and see how they are implemented before putting Turkey formally on the road to membership.

That is not good enough for Mr Erdogan, who has been conducting an exhaustive round of diplomacy and lobbying.

He singled out Latvia's human rights' record. Latvia is expected to be invited to join in 2004.

Mr Erdogan said that that was not possible to understand and the EU should leave aside double standards.

There is a strong feeling amongst many in Turkey that the problem is not the country's human rights record but the fact that it is an overwhelmingly Muslim society.

Some feel that the member states will find any excuse to delay or deny membership to the country.

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The BBC's Jonny Dymond
"Turkey passed major reforms a few months ago to its legal system"

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