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    Rehn: Turkey has cleared all hurdles

    Hürriyet Haber
    14 Eylül 2005 - 10:04Son Güncelleme : 14 Eylül 2005 - 10:04

    EU Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn told the European Parliament's Foreign Relations Committee on Tuesday that Turkey has cleared all hurdles necessary to start accession talks on October 3, as scheduled. However, it was noted in his speech that EU members are still out on whether or not Turkey should join the union. One of the main issues being discussed is the recognition of the Greek Cypriot Administration by Ankara.

    Rehn also noted that the EU had no reason not to start accession talks as planned, adding that, "Turkey was given two conditions last December with which both have been fulfilled."

    “There was a unanimous decision by the European Council that they expected Turkey to fulfill two conditions: the entry into force of the six pieces of legislation that were essential for the legal and political [accession] criteria, and the signature by Turkey of the adaptation protocol of the Ankara agreement [creating a customs union with the EU] knowing that this would not amount to an explicit, formal recognition [of Cyprus]. These two conditions are now met,” Rehn said.

    The main problem now is that EU member states are still in what Rehn called "heated" debates over the accession of Turkey. A meeting is to be held in Brussels on September 26 with regards to this issue.

    Two agreements must be adopted by Europe before the talks can go ahead. One is the so-called “negotiating mandate” allowing the European Commission to start talks. The other is a “counter-declaration” to a statement last July in which Turkey said its extension of the existing customs union with the EU – the so-called Ankara Protocol – to the 10 new EU members does not amount to a recognition of Greek Cyprus.

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