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For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
December 13, 2002

Statement by the Press Secretary
European Union Enlargement and Turkey

The United States welcomes the European Union's decision to open without delay accession negotiations with Turkey upon deciding in December 2004, that Turkey has fulfilled the Copenhagen political criteria. This is a visionary decision by European leaders to build a truly inclusive European Union. While the United States is not a member of the European Union, we support Turkey's pursuit of its European aspirations, and encourage our friends and allies to work energetically towards this historic goal. The United States strongly supports Turkey's ongoing commitment to political and economic reform, which will benefit the Turkish people and advance Turkey's long-standing strategic objective of joining with Europe. Turkey's continued evolution toward Europe, and its eventual membership in the European Union, demonstrates for the continent and the entire world that Islam and democracy are fully compatible.

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