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Babacan Meets with EU Enlargement Chief

The New Anatolian / Ankara

Turkey's European Union chief negotiator Ali Babacan met in Brussels on Friday with EU Commissioner Olli Rehn, who is responsible for EU enlargement.

After almost one hour of meetings, Babacan said that the pair had evaluated the recent democratization and human rights reforms in Turkey. "We also discussed the technical details of the negotiation process scheduled to begin on Oct. 3," he said.

He also added that the negotiation framework document and the Ankara Protocol, which extends the Customs Union between Turkey and the EU to the bloc's 10 new member countries, would be signed by Oct. 3.

Babacan also had contacts with the EU Commission Deputy President Margot Wallstrom, and Fabrizio Barbaso, the Commission's director general responsible for enlargement, before his meeting with Rehn.

"On Oct. 3, we will enter an important process with the start of accessions talks," Babacan said. "This process is important in the context of bringing higher standards of living to Turkish people. The Turkish government is determined to succeed at this process."

Asked about the recent rejection of the European constitution in France and the Netherlands and its possible effect on the Turkish membership process, Babacan said that the disputes in Europe over the new constitution were not focused on Turkey. "Our view on this issue is very clear," he said. "I think that it would be wrong to have prejudices against decisions that will be taken in 10 or 15 years. There will be different political attitudes and developments during all these years. After 10 or 15 years, both today's EU and Turkey will have changed. Both sides will see big changes."

Copyright The New Anatolian
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