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Volume 405: debated on Friday 16 May 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of Turkey's progress on meeting the criteria for EU membership as defined by the European Council in Copenhagen in 1993 on (a) human rights, (b) treatment of minorities and (c) the role of the army in political life. [113142]

The European Commission's 2002 Regular Report on Turkey, published last October, described the progress that Turkey had made towards complying with the Copenhagen political criteria. My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary agreed on a revised Accession Partnership for Turkey setting out priorities for reform, at the General Affairs and External Relations Council on 14 April 2003. The Turkish Government continue to pass significant legislative reform packages and show the political determination for which they were praised at the Copenhagen European Council. A sixth legislative reform package has been announced and will be deposited in the Turkish Parliament soon. We continue to strongly support Turkey's EU candidature both bilaterally through our UK/Turkey Action Plan, and as part of the EU.