The commissioner responsible for the EU' expansion process said that a negotiation date could not to be given to Turkey yet. NTV- There is no question of giving Turkey a firm date to begin negotiations over its entry into the European Union in return for Ankara exhibiting a constructive attitude over the issues of Cyprus, NATO and the European Army, a senior EU official was quoted as saying in a German newspaper Günter Verheugen, the EU commissioner tasked with overseeing the bloc' expansion process, told the German daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung that what was required was progress over the Copenhagen Criteria, especially the banning of capital punishment and granting of cultural rights. "The commission is opposed to bargaining for political purposes," Verheugen said, adding that there were still steps Turkey had to achieve. While Turkey has made some progress in meeting the political criteria set down to qualify for membership, the death penalty still had to be abolished and there were questions over whether a majority of the parliament would back Kurdish cultural rights, Verheugen said. In October a report studying the developments in Turkey would be submitted to the heads of the states in the bloc. "If Ankara wants to meet the targets it set itself it has to make more efforts," he said. The chances of reaching an agreement over the Cyprus issue by the end June had been missed and that the Greek Cypriot would be joining the EU, representing the whole island, said Verheugen. He also claimed that the solution to the issue was in the hands of Ankara, adding that the Turkish Armed Forces view over the Cyprus question was ambiguous. Verheugen said that Turks should understand that two independent states could not exist on the island, though he praised the fact that Turkey put an end to its saying that it would annex the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus if the Greek Cypriot side was to join EU
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