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Home >> World
UPDATED: 10:13, September 29, 2005
EU parliament deals setback to Turkey
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European Union lawmakers chided Turkey Wednesday, five days before it is due to open EU membership talks, demanding that Ankara recognize the 1915 killing of Armenians as genocide before it joins the bloc.

The European Parliament gave grudging blessing to the start of negotiations next Monday after a heated debate that vented strong criticism of Turkey's human rights record.

But it postponed a vote to ratify Turkey's extended customs union with the EU in a bid to put pressure on Ankara to open its ports and airports to traffic from EU member Cyprus.

The non-binding resolution was a political slap in the face for Turkey, which insists there was no genocide.

The Turkish lira and stock market lost ground on the news, although traders said they did not believe the October 3 opening of talks was at risk.

Former Turkish Foreign Minister Yasar Yakis from the ruling AK party told NTV television: "These decisions of the European parliament make things more difficult for Turkey."

EU governments remain deadlocked on a negotiating mandate for the talks, with Austria holding out for a more explicit mention of an alternative to membership.

Ankara reaffirmed Wednesday it would accept nothing less than full membership.

Source: China Daily

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