Magazine article Europe-East

Eu/turkey : Eu Counts on Gul to Put European Commitments into Action

Magazine article Europe-East

Eu/turkey : Eu Counts on Gul to Put European Commitments into Action

Article excerpt

The election, on 28 August, of Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul as the president of Turkey and the arrival in office of a new government "with a clear popular mandate" will give "fresh, immediate and positive impetus to the accession process to the European Union through progress in a number of key areas". European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso reacted thus to the parliamentary election of the first leader of an Islamic party to secular Turkey's highest office. Barroso said he was certain Gul would fulfil his task "with a strong sense of duty and commitment" to his country and fellow citizens.

The Commission is pressing the Turkish government to give priority to economic and legal reforms, in particular to strengthening freedom of expression and freedom of religion.

European Parliament President Hans-Gert Pottering also called for reforms in Turkey, saying Abdullah Gul's election as head of state would not be enough to change the course of negotiations with the EU. "What counts is not that Turkey claims to adhere to European values, but that it puts them into practice. That is the main question," Pottering told the German press.

The Commission will be presenting in November its appraisal of Turkey's progress on reforms, in the context of its annual analysis of headway made by EU applicant countries. …

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