EU set to open talks with Turkey
16 December 2004
BRUSSELS – EU leaders gathered in Brussels are poised to open accession talks with Turkey.
If as expected they go ahead and give the green light to talks, the decision will mark a historic moment in Turkey’s forty-year bid to join the European Union.
Accession talks are likely to begin properly in the autumn and already promise to be long and arduous.
Turkey is not expected to join the EU until 2015 at the earliest.
A provision in the agreement analysts predict will be thrashed out later today would provide for the suspension of talks if Turkey did not live up to expectations on human rights or other commitments.
France and Austria have raised Turkish ire over the past few weeks by attempting to dilute the language on accession talks to suggest alternatives to full Turkish membership.
Both governments are faced with hostile public opinion towards Turkey’s membership bid.
In a bid to win public support, French President Jacques Chirac gave his support to Turkey during a TV interview on Wednesday evening.
The fine details of the accession agreement and the final go ahead for talks to begin will be discussed by heads of state and government over a late dinner on Thursday evening.
Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Recep Erdogan has already warned Turkey is prepared to walk away empty-handed and freeze the process if it is not given the right terms.
[Copyright Expatica 2004]
Subject: Belgian news