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Last Updated: Sunday, 3 October, 2004, 22:14 GMT 23:14 UK
Schroeder hails Turkish reforms
Recep Tayyip Erdogan receives award from Gerhard Schroeder
Erdogan said his government would carry through reform
German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder has hailed his Turkish counterpart as a "great reformer", while promising support for the country's EU bid.

Mr Schroeder and Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who is visiting Berlin, said they were confident Turkey would get the go-ahead this week to open EU membership talks.

The European Commission is meeting on Wednesday to discuss the bid.

Turkey has passed sweeping reforms but has not yet met all the criteria for membership.

Documents obtained by the BBC last week suggest that negotiations on Turkey's accession would take at least a decade, and the cost of membership would be as much as that of the 10 mostly former communist countries which joined this year.

'Painful experiences'

Mr Schroeder presented Mr Erdogan with the private Quadriga award for his handling of reforms in Turkey.

We have done our homework - now it's for those who set this homework to do what is necessary
Recep Tayyip Erdogan
The chancellor said the reforms could not be dismissed as merely a sop to Europe, citing Mr Erdogan's jail experience for reciting religious poetry.

"It is a consequence of his political convictions and also of his painful personal experiences with repression and persecution," he said.

He added that if the European Commission recommended opening accession talks Germany would throw its weight behind the bid.

Mr Erdogan said his government was determined to carry the reforms through to the end, adding that he would settle only for full membership negotiations and not the "privileged partnership" suggested by Germany's opposition.

"Anyone who calls into question whether Turkey can be a full member is not respecting the procedures," he told German TV. "We have done our homework. Now it's for those who set this homework to do what is necessary."

He said Turkish membership would mean a "reconciliation of civilisations".

Turkish hopes of EU entry depend on the talks

Germans question Turkish EU bid
24 Sep 04  |  Europe
Excerpts: EU study on Turkey
02 Oct 04  |  Europe
Q&A: Turkey and the EU
24 Sep 04  |  Europe
Should Turkey join the EU?
26 Sep 04  |  Have Your Say

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