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EU: Turkey Repeats Demand For 2003 Start Date For Entry Talks

Copenhagen, 12 December 2002 (RFE/RL) -- Turkish Prime Minister Abdullah Gul reiterated his country's demand today for a start to European Union accession talks in 2003. Following discussions with Greek Prime Minister Costas Simitis, Gul said he expects EU leaders at the Copenhagen enlargement summit, which starts later today, to offer Turkey a firm date to start negotiations. He said that Turkey has "done its homework" in meeting EU accession requirements. EU members France and Germany are pushing for a 2005 start date for talks with Turkey, in spite of Turkish demands for an earlier start.

Meanwhile, the Turkish parliament failed to pass a new series of human rights reforms ahead of the summit, with lawmakers saying they will resume debating the package in the next few days.