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Verheugen says Turkey needs encouragement
2002-10-09 17:37:02

Nicosia, Oct 9 (CNA) -- European Commissioner on Enlargement Gunter Verheugen said today that Turkey has made remarkable progress towards democratisation and its human rights record, and suggested that the country should be encouraged to continue along these lines.

Addressing the European Parliament, which is dealing with the European Commission's reports on enlargement, Verheugen said the Commission would make proposals to ensure that ''the door remains open for Turkey''.

Verheugen said ''the Helsinki strategy was not a mistake'' and that ''since the Helsinki process, Turkey in terms of human rights and democracy has made more progress than in the past 15 years but we couldn't expect Turkey within 18 months to fulfill all the political criteria required for accession negotiations''.

''I am not criticising Turkey when I say they still haven't fulfilled these conditions. On the contrary, I find it quite outstanding to see how much has been achieved in this period and therefore Turkey should be encouraged to carry on along this path'', he added.|

He furthermore said ''the Commission will make proposals to ensure that Turkey can continue, we will make sure the door remains open for Turkey''.

Verheugen noted that ''Turkey and the EU should not deviate from the task ahead and that is to make the necessary changes towards accession''.

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