The European Parliament has approved the opening of EU accession talks with Turkey but only under certain conditions.
Negotiations with Ankara are set to begin next Monday, and are expected to last at least a decade. Among the conditions set by the European Parliament is Turkey’s recognition of the 1915 Armenian genocide. In a last-minute vote at lunchtime, the parliament also decided to postpone a vote on a protocol to extend Turkey’s customs accord to the bloc’s 10 new members, including Cyprus. The issue of Turkey’s recognition of Cyprus remains a key stumbling bloc. While it has accepted that Cyprus would participate in the accord, Ankara has issued a declaration that this does not amount to recognising its government. A majority of EU members favour Turkey’s adhesion but some, like Austria, are insisting on an alternative – a privileged partnership – which Ankara flatly rejects.