When do you think Turkey will gain full entry to the EU?

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Turkey EU Dreams.... Doubts Raised v Hopes Mounting....
Turkey EU Dreams.... Doubts Raised v Hopes Mounting....

Extract from Zaman News Agency....

Messages coming from members of the European Union (EU), which has undergone a critical process following the European Constitution rejection in France and The Netherlands, paved the way for interpretations suggesting that Turkey's dreams are fading and doubts about them in the West are increasing.

British newspaper, The Guardian focused on the EU foreign ministers meeting on Monday in which expressions of some views regarding the greatest damage by the referenda results was towards Turkey. The Guardian's article asserted that France has held off its 40-year hopes for Turkish accession to the Union. Another British newspaper, The Financial Times claimed that the foreign minister's meeting has increased doubts about Turkey's EU membership. The Independent also wrote that whether or not Turkey will begin negotiations has been blurred by "controversial statements" issued by Paris.

Elsewhere in Germany, Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer has warned, the EU might "shut the doors" on Turkey; however, this could come at a tremendous cost. An alternative option for Turkey to become a Western society according to Fisher poses either a "crises or worse". Another warning came from the EU Commission member Gunter Verheugen that Turkey's membership should not be turned into an issue. This would be a betrayal of the promises given to Turkey, he


Turkey EU Dreams.... Doubts Raised v Hopes Mounting....
Merkel vows to oppose Turkey's bid....

Speaking in the German parliament Thursday, CDU leader Angel Merkel said she will stand by her position that it would be better for the EU to offer Turkey a privileged partnership arrangement rather than full membership.

“We will not renounce our position and will continue to repeat that negotiations for a privileged partnership are the best option for integrating Turkey in Europe,” Merkel said.

The fact that Turkey had still not established diplomatic relations with Armenia or the Greek Cypriot administered south of Cyprus, which is a member of the EU, was a catastrophic situation, the CDU leader said.



Turkey EU Dreams.... Doubts Raised v Hopes Mounting....
If Turkey joins the EU

I really want to come out and live the dream (like Merlin) but i also feel that i would want to work after a while .When ...If ...Turkey joins the EU will it become the same rules as other EU countries for work .I would really like to know your thoughts on this as I realize that work is extremly difficult to get hold of at the moment and foreigners can only do certain jobs ,i have no real skills (having been a production worker at Rover cars )and Im told i can only start a business with a Turkish partner
yours worried but optimistic,,, Andy.


Turkey EU Dreams.... Doubts Raised v Hopes Mounting....

If and when Turkey becomes a full EEC participating member, then they will have reciprocal arrangements in place for working visas.

Starting any new business can be difficult and fraught with problems, moreso in a country where the framework for new ventures is filled with red tape and nepotism.

Life in Turkey is not all a bed of roses and there are very few Brits that I know who have made a successful business in Turkey based solely on tourism.

The summer window of opportunity is getting smaller - this year in Altinkum alone, bar owners and restaurants were not expecting the major inflow of tourists to the area until June 15.

Typically, the season slows down rapidly after the first week in Spetember therefore this gives you around 11 weeks to make a return on your investment.

The changes in schooling rules in the UK, where you cannot take children out of school "in-term" has also dealt a major blow to tourism in general.

If you had enough savings, the ideal solution would be to move to Turkey and live on your capital, learn the language and do local research and find a niche business opportunity that doesnt clash with everyone else.

I understand for some people, myself included, when people move here, they still want to do some sort of work however, there is a big difference between running a business for fun and running one for financial dependency.



Turkey EU Dreams.... Doubts Raised v Hopes Mounting....
ROME (Reuters) - Turkey has no chance of joining the European Union in the foreseeable future, former European Commission President Romano Prodi said in newspapers on Wednesday.

The comments from the man who opened the way for Turkish membership last October when he recommended starting accession talks with Ankara, show political attitudes have changed since the French and Dutch votes against the EU constitution. "We need a re-think," Prodi told regional daily Il Gazzettino. "The referendums have rung a loud alarm on Turkey ... I believe that the conditions now are no longer there for Turkey's entry in the short or medium term."

"The real problem is Turkey," he added.

In France and the Netherlands, "No" campaigners cited the recent EU expansion and the possible admission of Turkey among reasons to vote against the new constitution, even though the document itself would not change the enlargement process.

Prodi, now leader of Italy's centre-left opposition, implied many Italians had an emotional fear of Turkey, a populous and predominantly Muslim country on the edge of mostly Christian Europe. "I come from a country where my mother, when she wanted to say something scary, would say: 'The Turks are coming'."

A spokesman for Prodi said his position was that a slow-down in enlargement was not his wish but was now politically unavoidable.

Nonetheless, Prodi's position marks a clear difference with Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, who supports Turkey's EU entry despite opposition from many in his centre-right government.

Reforms Minister Roberto Calderoli, a member of the euro-sceptic Northern League party, congratulated Prodi for what he viewed as a change of heart.

"Better late than never. Finally even he has realised Turkey must stay out," Calderoli told the Corriere della Sera daily.


Turkey EU Dreams.... Doubts Raised v Hopes Mounting....
Pope's reiterates skepticism on Turkey's EU bid

ROME - Pope Benedict XVI reiterates his skepticism on Turkey's European Union membership in his first book published since his inauguration.

Former Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger's views are set down in "The Europe of Benedict, in the crisis of cultures," which was presented in a ceremony Tuesday. The 152-page book, sections of which were made available to the press, contains material first written in 1992 and updated as recently as early this year, shortly before Benedict's election to the papacy, according to the Cantagalli publishing house.

According to Italian news agency Apcom, the pope invites people to rethink Turkey's EU membership. The pope described Turkey's position by saying, "Turkey is a state affected by Islamic culture, and it lacks Christian roots."

"Ataturk tried to change Turkey into a secular state in order to adopt the Christian secularism found in Europe," the pope said, adding, "European identity can only be determined by the norms and content of the similar enlightened cultures. All the states that can adopt these criteria could be European."

Last August, while still a cardinal, Ratzinger said in an interview, "Turkey always represented another continent throughout history, in permanent contrast with Europe," so to equate the two continents "would be a mistake."

The New Anatolian, 23 June 2005


Turkey EU Dreams.... Doubts Raised v Hopes Mounting....
I wonder sometimes whether it would be wise to join in a devided "Union" in times of such turmoil. I think that Turkey knows it will not get in in in the near future and is therefore working on its ties with all camps. We dont even know if there will be anything to get into!!

Only last week the Turkish Priminister was asking for closer ties with Turkey and the Arab world, I think they understand the fortunate position they are in (in the medium to long term) as the bridge between the "Arab" and "Western" World.

Yes in the Short term EU I think would be good for Turkey and us forum memebers as it would bring in Large investment and EU Grants, Sort out the population void of 15-25 year olds in the rest of the EU and allow us to Work in Turkey and capitalise on the values of our properties going up in value.

Their economy is getting stronger and slowly but surely it seems that they are getting their house in order. They will soon have the most important oil pipelines from Russia and Middle East running through their land and are in a possition to capitalise on this Gateway position.

Just my 2p worth, hopefully nothing too contrevetial in there.



Turkey EU Dreams.... Doubts Raised v Hopes Mounting....
Many thanks merv , your knowledge of Turkey is invaluable to the likes of myself . I feel daft and soooo green .However I,m not a quitter and I,m still flying out to look at properties in and around Tinky.going to Gran Canariaon 11th july (booked last year) but will be in touch with yourself and others to pick your brains again nearer the date. Hope you dont mind ,
Many thanks Andy and Jane;)


Turkey EU Dreams.... Doubts Raised v Hopes Mounting....
What if?

What if France puts its foot down? Just eight weeks before the long-awaited launch of Turkey's European Union entry talks, the question is haunting Ankara and fanning fears of a crisis.

What if French Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin really meant it when he said Turkey must recognise Cyprus before the talks start on October 3? What if France, backed perhaps by Cyprus and other Turkey-sceptical EU states, vetoes the negotiations?

Britain, which holds the EU's rotating presidency, and the European Commission, the bloc's executive body, say Turkey has done all it was required to do for the talks to start on time.

But anxiety is growing and the stakes could not be higher.

"There is confusion. We are still waiting for an explanation (from France)," said a Turkish diplomat, adding that Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul may travel to some EU capitals this month.

Gloom is growing among political analysts and economists.

"I believe the French are serious (about vetoing Turkey)... And Cyprus is gambling that Turkey is ready to make further concessions because delaying EU talks could trigger an economic crisis here," said Hasan Unal of Ankara's Bilkent University.

With French officials on summer vacation, Turkey may have to wait until at least August 24 -- when EU envoys in Brussels are due to discuss Turkey -- for clarification and more probably until Sept 1-2, when EU foreign ministers meet in Wales.

Turkey, backed by Britain and the Commission, insists it has cleared the final hurdle for the start of talks by signing a protocol late last month extending its customs union with the EU to include new members, including Cyprus.


But Ankara annoyed some EU member states by also issuing a declaration making clear the signing did not mean it now recognised the Greek Cypriot government, viewed by the EU as the sole legitimate representative of the island of Cyprus.

Turkey backs breakaway Turkish Cypriots in northern Cyprus.

Ankara says recognition can only follow a comprehensive peace accord for the island, split on ethnic lines since Turkey invaded in 1974 after a Greek Cypriot coup backed by Greece.

Cyprus is a highly emotive issue in Turkey and many analysts say Turkey is ready to abandon its decades-old EU drive if the bloc, reneging on earlier commitments, insists on Ankara's immediate recognition of the Greek Cypriot administration.

"If Cyprus recognition is made a condition for the talks, Turkey will refuse," said Dogu Ergil of the TOSAM think-tank.

"Turkey will drift away from Europe... For most Turks, the EU's behaviour smacks of double standards," said Ergil.

Turkish decision-makers appear increasingly convinced that the EU drive will be delayed, or at least "should not be pursued with such rigour by Ankara because the eventual outcome is too uncertain," said Suat Kiniklioglu of the German Marshall Fund.

Last week's resignation of Murat Sungar as head of Turkey's Secretariat-General for EU affairs reflects concerns that Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan's government is no longer seriously committed to the EU process, analysts said.

Sungar, a veteran career diplomat, cited personal reasons for his decision, but analysts said he had been frustrated by slow progress in Turkey's preparations for the October 3 talks.


Investors have so far been remarkably sanguine about Turkey's EU headache, pushing the lira currency and asset prices to fresh highs in recent weeks. But economists say any serious threat to the October 3 start date would spark heavy selling.

Simon Quijano-Evans, an emerging markets analyst at Bank Austria Creditanstalt, said the EU provided the main anchor for Turkish economic policy, along with the International Monetary Fund, which this year agreed a new $10 billion (5.6 billion pound) loan programme.

"We would expect a negative reaction from the markets to any postponement of EU talks. Foreign investors would see it as a risk to the reform process. The government would then have to show clearly it remained committed to economic reform," he said.

Bilkent's Unal, a prominent Eurosceptic, said the government had little room for manoeuvre after investing so much in the EU.

"We will have a financial crisis, one way or another. Lots of the hot money flowing into Turkey right now could leave very quickly. The Greek Cypriots know all this and are playing for maximum concessions," said Unal.



Turkey EU Dreams.... Doubts Raised v Hopes Mounting....
Re: Turkey's EU Dream Fades.... Doubts Mounting

merlin said:
The pope described Turkey's position by saying, "Turkey is a state affected by Islamic culture, and it lacks Christian roots."

"Ataturk tried to change Turkey into a secular state in order to adopt the Christian secularism found in Europe," the pope said, adding, "European identity can only be determined by the norms and content of the similar enlightened cultures.

The Dutch voted 'no' out of fear of losing identity and to voice out to Prime Minister Harry Potter that he needs to start listening in stead of sucking up to the big bosses.

Furthermore, if the pope joking or what?? 'affected by Islamic culture' 'similar enlightened cultures' come on!!!


Turkey EU Dreams.... Doubts Raised v Hopes Mounting....
Berlin: 'Wrong' to admit Turkey to EU: Oskar Lafontaine....

An influential leader of Germany's newly founded Left Party, Oskar Lafontaine, said Thursday that he opposed allowing Turkey to join the European Union.

"I personally was against the swift eastward expansion of the European Union (E.U.) and thus regard it as wrong for Turkey to be taken into the E.U.," said Lafontaine in a Maerkisiche Allgemeine newspaper interview.

Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, who is a Social Democrat (SPD), and his Greens coalition allies back Turkish E.U. membership.

The opposition conservatives and their chancellor candidate Angela Merkel oppose allowing Turkey to join the E.U. - as do Germany's smaller right-wing extremist parties.

Lafontaine, a former leader of Schroeder's SPD, quit the party earlier this year to set up the Left Party comprised of former East Germany's post-communists and a smaller western left group, the WASG.

Polls show the Left Party at between 9 per cent and 12 per cent meaning it is almost certain to enter parliament after Germany's September 18 general election.

Lafontaine recently drew headlines by complaining about 'Fremdarbeiter' or foreign workers taking jobs from German workers.

Turkey is due to begin negotiations aimed at E.U. membership on October 3.

Talks are expected to be extremely difficult and last up to 15 years.



Turkey EU Dreams.... Doubts Raised v Hopes Mounting....
Negativity towards Turkey growing.... Let's Not Talk Turkey

Guess who won't be joining the European Union anytime soon.
by Gerard Baker

Weekly Standard (Subscription required for full story)

EVEN BY THE EUROPEAN UNION'S own standards of vaulting futility, the charade it will inaugurate on October 3 will be especially pointless. On that date, to great fanfare, the European Union will formally launch accession negotiations for Turkey. Heads of government will speak solemnly about this historic opportunity. Officials will lovingly pore over sheaves of paper that map out Turkey's route to membership inthe European club at some unspecified moment in the future. Scribes of a romantic disposition will celebrate the great merger of East and West represented by the bridging of the Bosphorus.

This being Brussels, seat of the fantasy empire of geostrategic make-believe, no one will be so impolite as to point out the absurdity of the occasion. But the truth is Turkey has as much chance of joining the European Union as John Kerry has of winning a recount in Ohio. It isn't going to happen.



Turkey EU Dreams.... Doubts Raised v Hopes Mounting....
Why the West is excluding Turkey....


Why is Turkey excluded from EU?

It's not known why the Europe Union doesn't want Turkey because the EU does not clearly say or cannot explain properly what it wants from Turkey. Many Europeans cite the fact that only a small potion of Turkish land is located in continental Europe, said Milliyet's Yaman Törüner.

“However, they accepted Greek Cyprus, an island considered to be part of Asia, in the EU. They say Turkey is a Muslim country but they forget the majority of the Balkan countries, whose membership was accepted in May, were a part of the Ottoman Empire before World War I,” he said.

“On the other side, Islam is accepted in many EU countries. For example, there are so many Muslims in the Evry region of France, a country notorious for acting with hostility towards Turkey, that no pork or alcohol are sold in the supermarkets there,” he added.

“There are 43 schools that offer Muslim education, even in tiny Netherlands, and there are applications to open more Islamic schools,” he said.

“Then what is the main justification for Turkey's rejection? EU Commissioner from the Netherlands Frits Bolkestain says Turkey is very big, very poor and very different.”

Listing the commissioner's views about why Turkey is excluded from Europe, Törüner wrote:

• If Turkey joins the EU, it will instantly be among the four largest countries in the union, along with Germany, France and Britain;

• Turkey's national income per capita amounts to 29 percent of the average EU income;

• The elite in Turkey is smaller than in Western countries;

• Turkey will bring an economic burden to the EU;

• There is no economic or political stability in Turkey;

• Turkey's human rights record still leaves much to be desired;

• There are attempts under way in Turkey to outlaw adultery; and

• Turkey still does not recognize the alleged Armenian genocide.

Törüner claimed that the main reason Turkey is not wanted is that Turkey is stronger than many EU countries.

He said Turkey is much stronger than most countries in Europe in terms of its land mass and its military strength. “The problem is that we are strong, not weak,” he said.


Turkey EU Dreams.... Doubts Raised v Hopes Mounting....
EU membership is inevitable due to its geostrategic location....

JTW News

Joseph Daul, head of the Committee on Agriculture of the European Parliament, said late Wednesday that Turkey's membership in the European Union is inevitable owing to its geostrategic location.

Speaking to the Anatolia news agency during his visit in Edirne, Daul said he had organized the visit to monitor the situation and developments in Turkey during its preparations for its negotiation process with the EU.

Daul stated that he had met with Turkish Agriculture and Rural Affairs Minister Mehmet Mehdi Eker and that the development of Turkey's agrarian economy was a source of amazement to him.

Daul underlined the problems that were initiated by the 10 new member states ofthe EU as of May 2004 and said, "The negotiation processes with the last 10 new members developed quickly. The EU will face different problems with the [future presumed] membership of newcomers such as Romania, Bulgaria and Croatia. Those 10 members were very important in political terms. But the EU had difficulties adapting them to EU policies. But Turkey's membership is inevitable."

Daul noted that negotiations between Turkey and the EU are set to begin on Oct 3 and stated that both sides will begin to know, understand, and agree with each other slowly and will achieve integration during this process.

Daul also warned the EU states not to make Turkey's membership a tool for domestic political debate.

He stated that agriculture in Turkey is close to the European standards in technical terms and added, "More than 40 percent of Turkish citizens are dealing with agriculture. But the priority should be given to the development of rural regions and some arrangements should be made for the agricultural lands and development of farmers."


Turkey EU Dreams.... Doubts Raised v Hopes Mounting....
Chirac on collision course with Blair over Turkey in EU

UK Telegraph

President Jacques Chirac fired the first shots of a fresh diplomatic battle with Britain yesterday when he challenged the readiness of Turkey to open accession talks with the European Union.

Tony Blair, who holds the rotating presidency of the EU until the end of the year, is Turkey's strongest supporter within an increasingly hostile European bloc.

British officials publicly insist that the start of Turkey's accession talks are on track to begin on Oct 3, as agreed by all EU heads of government last December and again in June.

But that has been thrown into doubt by Mr Chirac, who suddenly expressed grave concerns about Turkey's long-standing refusal to recognise Cyprus before the start of the talks.

Mr Chirac gave warning that France's concerns would be raised at a key meeting of EU foreign ministers in Newport, Wales, next week. The informal meeting will represent a major challenge for Jack Straw, the Foreign Secretary, who has used his presidency position in the chair at EU meetings to silence any discussion of Turkey, at times brutally cutting colleagues short when they tried.

Officially, Mr Chirac is in favour of Turkey's eventual entry into the EU. But yesterday his position shifted dramatically. During talks in Paris, he told Jose Manuel Barroso, the European Commission president, that Turkey had acted in bad faith last month when it signed a key customs union with the EU then issued a separate declaration noting that membership of the pact did not imply recognition of Cyprus.

Ankara's declaration had negated the customs protocol, Mr Chirac told Mr Barroso. The declaration "poses political and legal problems, and is not in the spirit expected of a candidate to the union".

The Greek-speaking Republic of Cyprus joined the EU last year but Turkey recognises only the breakaway Turkish Cypriot regime in the north.

At the time of the July protocol signing, officials in London and Brussels hastened to play down the significance of the second, anti-Cyprus declaration, saying that recognition of Cyprus had never been a pre-condition for accession talks to start. But a Foreign Office spokesman said yesterday that it was clear that there would eventually have to be an EU response to Turkey's declaration.

In recent months it has seemed increasingly likely that Mr Chirac would try to find a pretext for changing his position on Turkish accession for reasons essentially to do with domestic politics.

French public opinion is strongly hostile to Turkish accession and the issue played a central role in the recent French referendum on the EU constitution, which ended in a dramatic No vote.

One of Mr Chirac's deadliest political rivals, his interior minister, Nicholas Sarkozy, vocally opposes Turkish accession.

Ironically, Mr Chirac's new-found concern for Cypriot sensibilities goes further than that of the Cypriot or Greek governments, which have both agreed not to block the start of Turkish accession talks on Oct 3.

Cyprus and Greece want talks to start, as they both believe that continuing talks offer their best chance of securing major concessions from Ankara.


Turkey EU Dreams.... Doubts Raised v Hopes Mounting....
Turkey looms large on EU agenda....

EUOBSERVER / BRUSSELS - The EU will kick off to a difficult start after the summer break when foreign ministers meet to discuss Turkey on Thursday - the last ministerial meeting before accession talks are due to open at the beginning of October.

The nature of the meeting, where no formal political decisions will be taken, means there is a chance of a more frank discussion on the exact position of each member state.

This may go some way to clear up the doubts surrounding the talks, which have become exacerbated over the summer months.

On Friday (26 August), more uncertainty was added to the political mix following statements from Paris.

French president Jacques Chirac, previously a strong supporter of opening talks with Ankara, appeared to be wavering on the issue when his spokesperson said that France wants to discuss Turkey's refusal to recognise Cyprus.

Technically, this is not a criterion for opening talks with the EU, although it has been implicit that Turkey would have to do this after talks have begun.

During the summer, Ankara agreed to extend a customs agreement to cover the whole of the EU, including Cyprus, but attached a declaration explicitly saying this did not mean formal recognition of the Mediterranean island-state.

The European Commission is to present its legal interpretation of the declaration at Thursday's meeting.

It is also set to reiterate its view that any move on the recognition of Cyprus should be governed by the UN as well as pointing out that Turkey has fulfilled all the criteria for opening the talks, and that member states now have a responsibility to fulfil their side of the bargain.

German support hangs in balance
However, much of the uncertainty is coming from Germany, which faces a general election on 18 September.

While the current chancellor is a firm supporter of Turkey and of opening the talks on time, he is predicted to lose the elections and be replaced by the Christian Democrat, Angela Merkel.

Ms Merkel, along with her party, has made it clear that she is against Turkey becoming a full member of the bloc and wrote to conservative heads of government last week to make this point clear.

If the leaders of both Germany and France start adding hurdles in the run-up to the talks, then they are very unlikely to start on time.

Another issue likely to become embroiled in this discussion is Croatia's membership bid.

Zagreb was supposed to open talks with the EU in March but was deemed not to have done enough to help find the fugitive general, Ante Gotovina.

For certain countries, such as Austria, a strong supporter of Croatia's bid, it will be hard to agree to open talks with Turkey when Zagreb's prospects remain up in the air.

Still no negotiating mandate
All of this comes on top of the fact that the EU's negotiating mandate with Turkey has not been agreed.

It has to be given the green light by all member states so that talks can start.

It is thought to be too political an issue to be agreed at EU ambassador level, meaning there has to be a formal ministerial meeting.

As of yet, there is no formal ministerial meeting in Brussels scheduled until 3 October, leaving open the prospect that the mandate will have to be signed off on the day the talks are formally supposed to open.

All of this will be a big headache for the current British EU presidency, which is insisting that talks start as planned.

For its part, Turkey has remained upbeat about the prospect of the talks opening on time.

"The talks will begin because EU leaders are prudent enough not to overshadow or disregard strategic policies...due to internal political troubles or problems relating to conjecture", foreign minister Abdullah Gul was quoted by the Anatolia news agency as saying over the weekend.


Turkey EU Dreams.... Doubts Raised v Hopes Mounting....
Legacy of coup still reverberates throughout Turkey....

Financial Times


Turkey faces formidable hurdles in its effort to join the European Union, from growing opposition abroad to internal divisions and historical baggage.

One of the biggest challenges is to confront the legacy of the coup 25 years ago that did much to shape the way the country is now perceived.

The coup on September 12 1980 was not the first time Turkey’s armed forces had overthrown an elected government, but it was the most brutal. There were tanks on the streets as martial law was followed by mass arrests and the silencing of dissent.

The coup is recalled on Tuesday with a collective shrug, a reflection of the common view that the armed forces did what they had to do and that those days are now over. An attempt to stage a “never again” rally in Istanbul at the weekend was banned for security reasons. There were no television documentaries or academic conferences to mark the anniversary.

Yet the coup’s legacy is starkly evident. Perhaps its most enduring manifestation is the 1982 constitution, in effect written by the generals before they made way for the return of democracy a year later.

The constitution has now been considerably revised to help the EU accession process; the death penalty has been abolished and there is more individual freedom than there was even five years ago, as Turkey attempts to become more pluralistic. But the spirit of the military-inspired document still influences Turkish public life.

For some Turks, the coup saved their country from anarchy after a breakdown of political authority and law and order in the 1970s.

For much of the decade the country experienced what Andrew Mango, in a recent book on modern Turkey, calls a “low-intensity civil war” between left and right, communists and nationalists, that killed some 5,000 people.

There can be little doubt that the military had popular support in moving in to remove squabbling and ineffective politicians. “The political system had failed, and people were telling the army to do something,” says Seyfi Tashan, director of the Foreign Policy Institute at Bilkent University. The coup, he says, was “a necessary readjustment” to avoid chaos.

For others it brought the country’s democratic evolution to a brutal halt. The first act of the military government, led by Kenan Evren, chief of the general staff, was to drain the politics out of Turkish society.

It banned trade unions and independent foundations, purged the universities, and jailed thousands of people.

The purging of political activism led to what Orhan Silier, chairman of the History Foundation in Istanbul, calls “a fear of political engagement” among Turks that for years allowed the military and successive governments to act as they pleased. Rampant corruption and widespread human rights abuses were among the results, and still affect the way Turkey is perceived abroad.

The most important consequence of this de-politicisation of society may have been the neutering of radical political Islam in Turkey. The coup crushed the movement that was then becoming a force in Turkish politics.

Members of Turkey’s current, neo-Islamist government have spoken of how repeated setbacks in the 1980s and 1990s convinced them that they had to work within the Turkish system, not against it.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the moderate prime minister who will represent Turkey when its EU accession process gets under way next month, is the manifestation of that compromise.

Turkey’s military remains a formidable institution, secretive, disciplined and trusted by the people. Its role in politics remains enigmatic.

It is increasingly being confined to barracks by the politicians and last year a civilian was appointed to run the body that liaises between the politicians and the generals. The high command is remarkably pro-EU.

But the army has a position in Turkish society that is unique in Europe.

“The army here is like the referee at a football match, ensuring that everybody plays by the rules,” Mr Tashan says.

“I’m not sure whether 1980 created the conditions whereby it won’t have to interfere again, but it created a precedent of ‘enough is enough’ for the politicians so that hopefully we won’t see it happen again. Turks love their democracy.”


Turkey EU Dreams.... Doubts Raised v Hopes Mounting....
EU deadlock on Turkey-Cyprus row....


Turkey's accession talks are due to kick off on 3 October
EU talks in Brussels over how to react to Turkey's continued refusal to recognise Cyprus remain deadlocked.
Officials from all 25 member countries have met for the second time this week in view of Turkey's entry talks, due to start on 3 October.

A special meeting of foreign ministers may be needed to resolve the impasse, says the BBC's Jonny Dymond.

Turkey is angered at the latest developments and says it has already met all the conditions for membership.

"We did not reach a consensus but there was good progress made," a British diplomat who asked not to be named told AP news agency.

Cyprus and two more countries are said to have rejected the latest compromise text drafted by Britain, which is currently at the helm of the EU.

In July, Turkey signed a new customs deal with the EU which included the 10 new member countries, but said the move was not tantamount to recognising Cyprus.

According to news agency AFP, the latest UK proposal warned Turkey that "prior recognition of all [EU] member states is a necessary component of accession".

It also threatened to freeze entry negotiations on all transport issues should Turkey prevent Cypriot ships and planes from accessing its ports and airports.

Britain is due to try again next week to bridge the gap.

The international community does not recognise a breakaway state in the North of Cyprus created in 1974 after Turkey invaded that part of the island.

Turkey on its part has so far refused to recognise the Greek Cypriot government in the South.
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Turkey EU Dreams.... Doubts Raised v Hopes Mounting....
EU Reaches Deal on Turkey-Cyprus Rift....

Two weeks before accession talks with Turkey are set to start, Brussels reached a diplomatic breakthrough on Ankara's refusal to recognize EU member state Cyprus.


European Union ambassadors on Monday managed to agree on a draft declaration which tells Turkey to officially recognize Cyprus as a state before it can join the bloc. The deal removes a key hurdle ahead of the start of accession talks with Turkey on Oct. 3.

"The way for accession talks should be cleared in time," said a spokesman for the British EU-presidency.

This so called "counter-declaration" was necessary because Turkey issued its own declaration in July stating that it had no immediate intention of establishing diplomatic relations with the internationally recognized Greek Cypriot government.


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Turkey EU Dreams.... Doubts Raised v Hopes Mounting....
Do you think Turkey will recognise Greece now that it's been more or less told it has to before even entering talks?


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