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Turkey

Volume 405: debated on Wednesday 21 May 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussions he has had with (a) the Turkish government and (b) the European Union on Turkey's progress on meeting the criteria for EU membership. [113714]

On behalf of my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary I discussed Turkey's EU candidacy with EU foreign ministers in Brussels at the 14–15 April 2003 General Affairs and External Relations Council, where they agreed on a revised Accession Partnership for Turkey, which sets out priorities for meeting the political criteria. The Foreign Secretary also periodically meets with senior members of the Turkish government to review a range of issues including Turkey's progress in meeting the criteria for membership. The last time he met with members of the Turkish government was during the informal meeting of foreign ministers in Rhodes on 2–3 May 2003, which he and Turkish Foreign Minister Gul attended. Discussions on Turkey's progress in meeting the political criteria between the UK and Turkish governments also continue to take place regularly at ministerial and senior official levels.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussions he has had with (a) the Turkish Government and (b) the European Union on human rights violations in Turkey. [113713]

EU Foreign Ministers discussed human rights violations in Turkey at the 14–15 April 2003 General Affairs and External Relations Council in Brussels. I attended on behalf of my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary. They agreed on a revised Accession Partnership for Turkey, which sets out priorities for meeting the political criteria for membership of the EU. These priorities cover many aspects of human rights. The Foreign Secretary periodically meets with senior members of the Turkish Government to review a range of issues, including Turkey's progress in meeting the criteria for membership. On 3 December 2002 he held talks with the former Prime Minister and Foreign Minister during a visit to Ankara. FCO officials also frequently discuss human rights violations with the Turkish authorities; the latest round of an ongoing UK-Turkey Human Rights Dialogue took place in London on 26 November 2002.