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Last Updated: Wednesday, 6 October, 2004, 17:23 GMT 18:23 UK
In quotes: Reaction to Turkey report
Turkish flag in Istanbul
Turkey straddles two continents - and used to dominate the Balkans
Turkey has overcome a major hurdle in its campaign to join the European Union.

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 Wlodzimierz Cimoszewicz

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, Copenhagen

[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.

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