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EU Chief Urges 'No Halfway House' For Turkey

16 December 2004 -- European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso today called for Turkey to be offered nothing less than full membership of the European Union.

Barroso was speaking ahead of the start of an EU summit that will decide whether to open membership talks with Ankara.

"If we start negotiations with Turkey, it should be with full European Union membership in mind. There must be no last minute conditions, no new hurdles to overcome. I believe the time to start negotiations with Turkey has come," Barroso said.

Some EU states are wary of offering membership to such a large and underdeveloped Islamic nation as Turkey. They have called for the EU to offer Ankara a "privileged partnership" falling short of full EU membership.

Earlier today, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan made a last-minute appeal to EU leaders. He said Turks aspire to live "under the same roof as their European friends for the same principles of freedom and democracy."