Turks are furious that some countries would give them a junior form of membership in the EU bloc. Ahead of a summit where they’re expected to get a date to start entry talks, European Parliament president Josep Borrel told the national assembly in Ankara the goal posts haven’t moved.
“The very process of opening negotiations between the 25 Member States and Turkey logically implies a recognition of Cyprus and it’s not a new condition: Sooner or later when negotiating with the 25 countries that form the EU you will have to recognise all of them.” In two weeks, EU leaders must decide whether, when and on what terms to negotiate with Turkey, probably beginning next year. Belgium’s foreign minister Karel De Gucht, also in Ankara, spoke strongly in support of Turkey: “The message of the December summit should be very clear that we start negotiations that have the ultimate goal of becoming a member of the European Union. If there is confusion on that I think that would be a big political mistake.” France, Austria and Denmark have suggested the summit text spell out an alternative to full EU membership. Yet, with Britain and Germany, Italy is another firm Ankara-backer. Foreign Minister Gianfranco Fini told Rome’s parliament the best-case scenario for Turkish accession is January 2014. While the light at the end of the tunnel is flickering, the Erdogan government is being discreet.