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Prime Minister Lipponen: Turkey not ready for EU membership talks

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Finnish Prime Minister Paavo Lipponen (Soc. Dem.) feels that the European Union cannot give Turkey a fixed date for the launch of membership talks at the Copenhagen summit. However, some kind of target schedule is likely to be given to Turkey at the meeting, which begins on Thursday evening.
By Friday evening, the EU leaders are to complete membership talks with ten applicant countries.
A major difficulty in the EU enlargement talks concerns the demands by Poland for more EU subsidies than have been offered.
Briefing the Finnish Parliament on Wednesday, Lipponen said that progress has been made on the areas under dispute. He also warned that two applicant countries, Poland and Malta, are taking a big risk by holding out for more concessions.
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UN Sees Dimming Odds of Cyprus Deal in Copenhagen

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PoliticsBy REUTERS
Filed at 1:51 p.m. ET
UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - U.N. officials said on Wednesday the odds appeared slim for a peace deal on Cyprus to be reached during a European Union summit in Copenhagen, as U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan had hoped.
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EU Leaders Under Pressure Over Turkey, Poland

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COPENHAGEN - European Union leaders came under heavy pressure on Thursday to offer better terms to Turkey and Poland as they headed for a landmark summit to seal the expansion of the 15-nation bloc into eastern Europe.

Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen, the summit host, urged 10 leading candidates not to press unrealistic financial demands, and told the United States it was for EU leaders alone to decide when to start entry talks with Turkey.

Rasmussen warned the applicants not to price themselves out of the market, appealed to Turkey\'s new leaders for patience and pleaded for an 11th-hour deal to enable Cyprus to join united.
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Euro 2008 Wish List Down To Four

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Then there were four. Three of the seven contenders to host Euro 2008 - Russia, Hungary and a joint bid between Bosnia and Croatia - have been rejected by UEFA officials.
Austria-Switzerland\'s bid is considered by many people as the favourite to win the contest. While neither can be considered a giant of European football, Swiss club FC Basel have made an impression this season, reaching the second phase of the Champions League at the expense of Liverpool. Austria failed to win the 2004 competition with Hungary, who were also re-bidding, this time on their own.

The race to host the 2008 European Championships has been an intense one and made up of several joint bids, who hope to follow in the success that Japan and South Korea had in staging World Cup 2002.

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Bush lobbies EU on Turkey talks

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The European Union (EU) came under strong pressure from the US yesterday to embrace Turkey as a future member, on the eve of a landmark summit to expand the bloc beyond the old Iron Curtain. US President George W Bush called Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rassmussen, who will host the EU summit starting today, to press the EU to give Turkey a date for membership talks but was told Ankara must first meet human rights criteria.
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White House Daily Briefing Transcript

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White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer briefed.

Following is the part of White House transcript related to Turkey:
12:42 P.M. EST

MR. FLEISCHER: Good afternoon. The President began his day this
morning with a phone call to Danish Prime Minister Rasmussen.
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Turkey, EU, Cyprus . . .Beyond prejudices.

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Turkey, EU, Cyprus . . .
Beyond prejudices.
By Ismail Cem
The European Union, on the threshold of a final decision on its enlargement, is still undecided: Will its future be limited by religious and racial boundaries, or will it be one that reaches out boldly and contributes to the diversity and unity of a much broader geography?

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Walker\'s World: The terrible Turks

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OpinionsBy Martin Walker

WASHINGTON, Dec. 11 (UPI) -- The odds are just a little better than even that the European Union will this weekend do the decent thing and give the secular but mainly Muslim Turkey a date for the formal opening of talks on joining the traditionally Christian club.

The date will not be firm. The best that can be expected is a conditional date, probably June 2005, provided that Turkey has in the meantime consolidated its progress on human rights and democratic stability. This may not be as straightforward as it sounds, because much will depend on what happens over those coming 18 months in Turkey\'s neighbor, Iraq.

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Erdogan: We Have Not Come To United States To Demand Debt

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WASHINGTON D.C. - Justice and Development Party (AK Party) leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan said late on Tuesday that the aim of his visit to the United States was to strengthen Turkish-American relations and noted, \'\'we have not come to the United States to demand debt.\'\'

Erdogan made a speech at American Turkish Council (ATC) in Washington.

When a U.S. reporter asked \'\'how much assistance would be made to Turkey by the United States in case of a war in Iraq\'\', Erdogan said, \'\'we have not come to the United States to demand debt. Don\'t give us money. Just support our exporters.\'\'
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Bush woos Turkey on military solidarity

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PoliticsWashington - President Bush yesterday aggressively courted Turkey\'s cooperation in any military action against Iraq on two fronts.

In a brief meeting with Recep Tayyip Erdogan, leader of Turkey\'s new ruling political party, Bush contended U.S. access to Turkish bases could actually help avert war. At the same time, the president wooed Turkey with a spirited boost for the NATO ally\'s bid to join the European Union.
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