Turkish PM attacks EU 'pressure'
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has hit out at the European Union, telling it not to interfere in his country's internal affairs.
Mr Erdogan spoke after the European Commission warned that Turkey's bid to join the EU could be complicated by its delay in passing a legal reform bill. The bill was withdrawn on Thursday because of a controversy over moves to criminalise adultery.
Mr Erdogan said no-one should use the EU as an excuse to pressure Turkey.
The European Commission is due to give its opinion next month on whether Turkey should be given a date for talks to begin on its application for EU membership. The penal code reform bill was intended to bring Turkish laws closer to those of EU member states and was seen as crucial to Turkey's chances of EU entry. However, the entire package of measures is now subject to review and may not be ready in time for the commission's report on Turkey's progress.
EU enlargement commissioner Guenter Verheugen called the delay "a very worrying development" and said the new penal code was central to the question of whether Turkey met the conditions of being "a state of law". Turkish share prices fell more than 3% on the news. The withdrawal of the reform bill came after a political storm erupted in Turkey over a clause intended to make adultery a crime. The measure was greeted with dismay by women's groups and liberal commentators, who demonstrated outside parliament against the bill.
On Tuesday, the Turkish government appeared to have dropped the idea after pressure from the EU. But two days later, members of the Governing Justice and Development Party (AKP) said they would bring in their own amendment to criminalise adultery, prompting the government to shelve the bill.
- Story from BBC NEWS: http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/1/hi/world/europe/3666288.stm