Turkish foreign minister Abdulla Gul has been in the Netherlands for his last round of high-level European talks before the EU summit in December, where the leaders will decide whether to open membership negotiations with Turkey.
Foreign minister Bernard Bot, chairing the meeting for the EU’s current presiding nation, reiterated that, based on European Commission favourable but qualified recommendations, the member states would make the decisions about any future enlargement of the bloc. Before December 17, Bot said, it would be in Ankara’s interest to adopt and put into practice notably six laws on freedom of association, religious freedoms and judicial procedures. Opponents of Turkey in the EU want the country of 70 million people, mostly Muslims, to be satisfied with a partnership agreement rather than full membership in the bloc, at least as a first stage measure, but Ankara rejects the idea. The Istanbul stock exchange had a record good day, in anticipation of a favourable outcome at the summit.