Turkey condemns EU membership referendum

21st October 2004, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, Oct 20 (AFP) - Turkish leader Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has launched a broadside at those EU countries contemplating a referendum on the issue of Turkey's future membership of the European Union.

PARIS, Oct 20 (AFP) - Turkish leader Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has launched a broadside at those EU countries contemplating a referendum on the issue of Turkey's future membership of the European Union.

"No referendum has been organised to approve the membership of a candidate country during preceding enlargements," Erdogan said in an interview with a French newspaper.

"Imposing it on Turkey would be in contradiction with the process that has gone before," he said in the interview, due to be published in Thursday's edition of Le Parisien.

Turkey, he said, "asks for only one thing: to be treated exactly like everyone else."

French President Jacques Chirac has said he favours changing France's constitution in order to require a national referendum on Turkey's bid to join the EU.

Erdogan said the economic and political criteria necessary to become an EU member had been clearly defined and formalised, and that therefore to organise national referendums on Turkey's candidacy would be contrary to the principles of the union.

"In the areas of democracy and human rights Turkey is even ahead of some members of the union," Erdogan said.

"The recent report by the European Commission declares very clearly that Turkey has fulfilled all its obligations."

A recent poll in Germany, where many Turkish immigrants live, showed that the majority of Germans were also in favour of a referendum on the Muslim country's membership.

The issue has sparked lively debate throughout the European Union.

© AFP

Subject: French News

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