The EU governments have received an encouraging signal from the European Parliament.
The MEPs have voted in favour of opening membership negotiations with Turkey. “Without undue delay” they said, in a non-binding but influential resolution. Most deputies who raised posters were supporting Turkey’s entry bid. At the request of parliament’s predominant conservative group, the vote was secret. This was so as not to expose the splits within its ranks. The Socialists had pressed for an open vote. The result was 407 to 262 in favour of calling for talks to start. The resolution urged close monitoring of Turkey’s progress in improving human rights – not ignoring women – and religious freedom. It was suggested that talks should be suspended if Ankara backtracks in these areas. The idea of giving Turkey something short of full membership was rejected. Dutch Christian Democrat lawmaker Camiel Eurlings wrote the resolution. He said Turkey had to continue with its reforms if European hostility to Ankara’s accession was to be reduced.