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Turkey, EU Finally Agree On Text For Talks

3 October 2005 -- Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul says Ankara has reached agreement with the European Union on terms for opening membership negotiations.

Gul spoke to reporters in Ankara as he left a meeting at the headquarters of his ruling Justice and Development Party chaired by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Gul said he is now headed to Luxembourg for the ceremonial start of those talks.

Reuters news agency quoted Luxembourg Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn as saying final obstacles to the EU opening membership talks with Turkey were removed tonight.

EU president Britain said it had called EU foreign ministers into formal session at 8 p.m. Central European time to endorse the negotiating framework for the historic talks.

Turkey had been scheduled to begin those negotiations earlier today. But they were postponed over Austrian demands that Turkey be given a lesser partnership, rather than full membership.

(compiled from agency reports)