Turkish prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has staked his political career on his country joining the EU.
It was hardly surprising that he was upbeat last night as he addressed members of his Justice and Development Party. Erdogan said despite some “ugly moments”, common sense had prevailed. “A common decision was taken”, he said, “in favour of the alliance of civilisations. Turkey has taken another giant step that is in line with its historic walk.” Commentators say the tortuous nature of the final deal could leave a bitter taste on both sides, foreshadowing years of tough negotiations. If shoppers in Ankara are anything to go by, the Turkish public realises it will not be plain sailing. One man said: “There is no alternative. But we should not accept all their conditions.” Another said: “Everything depends on timing. We have lots of deficiencies at the moment, it is not like we will become a member straight away. We will wait and we have to excel ourselves, only then can we be a member.” But according to one young woman, Turkey has the upper hand: “They will take us, because Turkey is a very crucial country. We know that and our prime minister knows that, that is why he resists.”