This content is not available in your region

D-day for Turkey as debate over EU membership talks begins

D-day for Turkey as debate over EU membership talks begins
Text size Aa Aa

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has arrived in Brussels ahead of a landmark summit which could see his country win a date for opening talks on its long-delayed entry into the European Union. Striking a conciliatory note, Erdogan said he wanted to focus on how Turkey could contribute to the EU. But he reiterated his readiness to walk away from the table if the bloc imposed too many conditions.

French President Jacques Chirac gave Turkey further cause for optimism by backing the bid in an interview intended to break down fierce public opposition in France. Chirac said that when it came to stability and security it would be better to have Turkey as a part of the EU. If the vote goes the other way, he warned, instability and insecurity at Europe’s borders could be the result. Unlike some European leaders, Chirac has distanced himself from the possibility of a compromise membership for Turkey – a so-called privileged partnership. Each EU member has the right to block entry into the Union even after negotiations have started. Ankara’s human rights records, cultural and religious differences in mainly Muslim Turkey and concerns that large numbers of immigrants will come to Europe are among some countries’ concerns.