Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has led a delegation to Brussels to give second wind to his country’s flagging drive to join the European Union. While the standards the EU wants Turkey to adopt have encountered political obstacles there, he insisted that Ankara is making progress on reforms.
In part, the negotiations are moving slowly because of some EU states’ reservations about Turkish entry — e.g.:Cyprus, France and Germany. Erdogan rejected anything short of full membership. He said: “My answer is clear: in the European Union there is no such type of association (for a candidate); for us it is out of the question. We want to be a part of the European Union. We continue to work for that. Outside full adhesion there are no other possibilities.” Accession talks with Turkey began in 2005 but only 10 out of 35 policy areas have been discussed, and others have been frozen because it refuses to open its ports and airports to the Cypriots. The EU and Turkey will launch formal talks on taxation next week but doubts persist about having the relatively poor country of 70 million people as the bloc’s first Muslim member. On their side, told to reform and being given the arm’s length treatment by some Europeans, ordinary Turks are less interested than they used to be.