Turkey must completely changes its societal attitudes as well as reforming its economy if it is serious about joining the European Union.
That is according to the country’s foreign minister, Abdullah Gul, who was speaking at the Turkish National Assembly. He said Turkey must change its mentality, rules and norms. He added the negotiating process will be lengthy. A week after the EU gave the thumbs up to beginning membership talks with Turkey, senior European politicians have been touting the benefits of joining – not only for Turkey but for the bloc too. Belgian Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt said Turkey’s entry would help the bloc to combat fundamentalism. He also said he wasn’t opposed to referendums in all 25 countries on the Turkish question. Dutch Foreign Minister Ben Bot – whose country holds the rotating presidency – claims Turkish membership will help increase European influence around the world. With its borders with Syria, Iran and Iraq, Turkey would bring strategic benefits to the EU club. Bot said one of the dangers of refusing membership would be that the Islamic world may regard it as a slap in the face.