Turkey’s Prime Minister calls on EU to set date for accession talks
Turkey’s Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit called upon the European Union (EU) on Sunday to set a date for the start of accession talks after lawmakers adopted a package of democracy reforms demanded by the EU.
"Turkey has fulfilled all the (EU's) political criteria with the package and will implement the reforms. No one can claim otherwise," Ecevit told reporters, according to AFP. "Turkey now expects full membership from the EU as soon as possible," he added.
The legislation adopted Saturday includes some reforms long demanded by the EU, such as the abolition of the death penalty in times of peace and the legalization of language courses and broadcasts in the language of the Kurdish minority. Ecevit appeared confident that the reforms would enable the country to get a clearer perspective on its EU bid by the end of 2002.
"We have no deficiencies with respect to the Union's political criteria. I have no doubt our Western friends will also notice that when they examine the package adopted in parliament in detail," he said. "I do not even want to consider such a possibility, but if we fail to get a date, we will do what is necessary," he added, without elaborating. (Albawaba.com)
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