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15 December 2004 -- The European Parliament today called on European Union leaders to open membership talks with Turkey as soon as possible.
The European Parliament made its call in the form of a nonbinding resolution that urges Ankara to carry out further democratic reforms -- including a "zero tolerance" approach to torture -- and move toward recognizing Cyprus.
It also calls on Turkey to acknowledge "the genocide perpetrated against the Armenians." That statement refers to the 1915-23 killing of as many as 1.5 million Armenians through actions under the Ottoman Empire in eastern Turkey.
Speaking in Ankara, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan welcomed the resolution. But he reiterated that Turkey will say "no" to the EU if it imposes unacceptable conditions on starting membership talks.
EU leaders are expected to decide at a two-day meeting that begins tomorrow in Brussels whether or not to start entry talks with Turkey.
(AP/Reuters)[To see RFE/RL's full coverage and analysis of EU enlargement, see our dedicated "European Union Expands Eastward" webpage.]