Turkey take place in EU

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The Independent Online
TURKEY TOOK its place in the European family yesterday as the EU ended its last summit of the century by welcoming its first Muslim candidate, writes Stephen Castle.

Mr Bulent Ecevit, the Turkish Prime Minister (above), announced that he had accepted an offer of candidacy after the special EU envoy Javier Solana dashed to Ankara, the capital, on Friday night to explain the terms. Mr Ecevit flew to Helsinki for the final summit lunch and hailed the decision as "a victory for Turkey".

Even hard-nosed career politicians such as Chris Patten confessed themselves moved at the way both Turkey and Greece agreed terms for Ankara's membership. "The word `history' is overdone but this was an historic couple of days," he said.

Problems remain, however. Mr Ecevit declined to give a commitment that the life of the condemned Kurdish leader Abdullah Ocalan would be spared and defended Turkey's 1974 invasion of Cyprus.