It’s the first step on a long and winding road to membership of the European Union. Talks between the 25 nation bloc and Turkey have opened in Luxembourg. The first and least contentious round of discussions, that of science and research, was concluded on day one of the negotiations. It’s estimated talks on all 35 chapters could take up to ten years. There was a last minute objection from Cyprus ahead of the meeting.
Divided since 1974, Cyprus asked the EU to press Turkey for official recognition and to open its ports to Cypriot shipping. Cyprus joined the EU in 2004 and its membership could dog Ankara’s accession. Each of the dozens of decisions taken by ministers requires unanimity, giving Nicosia a vote. Officials say Turkey must speed up reforms on freedom of expression, religious minority rights and conditions in the Kurdish southeast of the country before the Commission’s next monitoring report in the autumn.