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Turkish President Approves New Penal Code - 2004-10-11


Turkish President Ahmet Necdet Sezer has approved the nation's new penal code, in a bid to increase Ankara's chances of joining the European Union.

The new code strengthens the rights of women and individual liberty, while cracking down on human rights abuses.

The European Commission last week recommended that the bloc open talks with Turkey, provided the penal code was adopted. EU ministers will make a final decision on opening a dialogue in December.

Some European critics of Turkish membership have expressed concern about absorbing the populous, largely Muslim nation within the bloc.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan says he does not want his country treated differently than other candidates for EU membership.