Turkey has overcome a major hurdle in its campaign to join the European Union.
Turkey straddles two continents - and used to dominate the Balkans
The European Commission has recommended opening talks, but says Ankara must meet stiff conditions. The following are reactions from across Europe.
European Commission President Romano Prodi
A Europe that is sure of itself, has a constitution and strong
institutions and policies, is returning to economic growth and is
based on a strong model of peace, prosperity and solidarity has
nothing to fear from the integration of Turkey.
Turkish Prime Minister
Recep Tayyip Erdogan
We hope to bring a long-travelled road to its final lap with
the initiation of accession negotiations in the first half of 2005.
This will create a very different global power in terms of culture or dialogue
between religions or civilisations.
Turkey is playing in the same team as Europe.
UK Foreign Secretary Jack Straw
Turkey has undergone remarkable changes over the last few years, putting in
place the extensive reforms the EU asked of it. The EU must now deliver its side
of the bargain. The European Council should agree in December to open
negotiations without delay.
German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer
We warmly welcome the Commission's decision... The Chancellor has indicated that Germany will push for a positive decision and we believe that the European Council will come to a positive decision.
Edmund Stoiber, German opposition leader
Everyone has to know where their borders are - and for
Europe, they certainly do not include Iraq, Iran or Syria... Anyone who
doesn't know their limits is in danger of overstretching himself, and Europe is in acute danger of this.
Polish Foreign Minister
Turkey is the best example of a democratic state in the Islamic
world. It is proof that the fundamental values of Western democracy
can also be applied in Islamic countries.
Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen
If the Commission says Turkey has fulfilled the conditions for
starting negotiations it would be right to launch them... But it is essential to install a braking mechanism into the negotiations, so that if the development in Turkey suddenly were to go into reverse we could simply stop the negotiations.
Greek government spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos
We believe that a European Turkey will be not only in
the interest of the Turkish people but also for the benefit
of stability, security and prosperity in our region.
Latvian Foreign Minister Artis Pabriks
I think the carefulness at the beginning is justifiable and understandable because Turkey is a very large country with a different cultural background.
International Rehabilitation Center for Torture Victims,
[We are] very concerned that Turkey time and time again rejects allegations of torture of prisoners and detainees...To combat torture, a government has to be open-minded, transparent and honest about the situation. Turkey must
stop denying the facts about torture and start doing its task.
EU Enlargement Commissioner Guenter Verheugen
We said there should be zero tolerance on torture. We
have really been very careful on making sure that was the
case... There are individual cases of infringement, of
misuse. ... But the government does seem to be doing what
it can to stop this practice.