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Turkey Should Not Be Admitted to EU, Says Former French President - 2002-11-08

The man heading the group charting the future of the European Union says Turkey should not be part of that future. Former French President Valery Giscard d'Estaing says admitting Turkey to the EU would doom the organization.

Valery Giscard d'Estaing told the French newspaper Le Monde that Turkey has no place in the E.U. because it is not part of Europe. Mr. Giscard d'Estaing said Turkey's capital and 95 percent of its population are in Asia, not Europe. And the chairman of the convention drawing up a strategic vision for the EU said granting membership to Turkey would, in his words, "spell the end of the European Union".

But in Brussels, a spokesman for the European Commission, the EU's executive agency, disagreed. The spokesman said Turkish membership would not mean the end of the EU and Turkey is still a candidate. The European Commission says Turkey has made progress towards meeting European standards.

But Turkey's application has been put on hold. Last month the EU declined to set a date to begin talks on membership.

In the past, EU members have criticized Turkey for its use of the death penalty and the persecution of its Kurdish minority. Turkey's outgoing government passed a series of controversial reforms including abolishing the death penalty and human rights guarantees for the Kurds.

The incoming government is expected to press the EU to set a date for accession talks at its next summit in December.