EU urges Turkey to improve press freedom

Commissioner cites Web site bans in 'negative atmosphere'

BRUSSELS -- Turkey will never realize its dream of joining the European Union until it improves press and media freedoms, a stern European Commission report said Wednesday.

EU enlargement commissioner Olli Rehn said there was "a negative atmosphere" against the press, Web site bans and a slowdown in the country's media reforms.

Turkish courts have blocked several Web sites, including YouTube, for allegedly insulting prominent Turks. Turkish Penal Code 301, a law that makes insulting "Turkishness" a crime, has been amended, but the law largely remains in force.