Euro Parliament Says ‘Later’ to Turkey

STRASBOURG (Reuters)–Turkey is not yet ready to begin negotiations for future membership of the European Union–the European Parliament said in a resolution passed on Thursday.

The resolution–which lists numerous measures Turkey must take to earn membership of the wealthy bloc–casts doubt on whether it will be able to satisfy EU requiremen’s in time for entry talks provisionally planned for late next year.

“The countries of central and eastern Europe have turned their back on old totalitarian structures with great enthusiasm to take the path of democracy and the rule of law. In Turkey’s case–the choice of this path is less apparent,” said deputy Ari Oostlander–who presented the text.

Passed by 216 votes to 75–the resolution urges Turkey to set up a new political and constitutional system and give full control of its military budget to parliament–among other things.

EU has conditionally pledged to open entry talks with Turkey in 18 months’ time if it removes barriers to free speech–ends the military’s influence over elected officials and increases cultural rights for its estimated 12 million Kurds.

Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan said last week he believed his country would join the bloc by 2012. His government is hoping to pass a series of laws which go some way towards meeting EU requiremen’s before taking a summer recess.

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