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Ankara Welcomes Barroso\'s Offer to Begin Screening Process

InternationalTurkey and the European Commission have agreed to begin the screening process immediately and to have it completed by October 3, 2005.

Brussels gave Ankara a guarantee that the screening process will consist of technical issues and not political issues. Ankara was concerned that the screening process would not be completed by October 3 and had offered to start the process and negotiations simultaneously. An offer to start the screening process from European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso has relieved Ankara considerably. Foreign Ministry Spokesman Namik Tan discussed Barroso\'s intent to complete the process by October 3rd, and said Ankara is determined to start the screening process early and will continue to work toward that aim. Tan also said the schedule for the process would be clarified at the end of reciprocal negotiations. Turkey has undergone similar screenings with the European Council over the past four years; each of the eight periods lasted six months. The data collected from those studies may allow the upcoming screening to be done more quickly than scheduled, according to Ankara. In response to a question about Cyprus, Tan said they support United Nations (UN) Secretary-General Kofi Annan\'s good will mission for peace and a political solution on the island.

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