Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Turkey breathes a sign of relief...for now.



According to the newly-released Progress Report from the European Commission,
freedom of speech in Turkey is not guaranteed, the military still plays a "significant" political role and non-Muslim religious minorities face discrimination. All of which is true. The Progress Report states also that the pace of reforms has slowed down in Turkey and the 9th reform package, which Turkey is still working on, was not completed in the period which the report covers. This is also true. As expected, Brussels has condemned Turkey's continued blocking of trade from EU member state Cyprus. Cyprus has said it will veto the opening of any new chapter unless Turkey gives in on opening its ports and airports to Cypriot traffic before the end of the year. If no progress was made in the next month, the Commission would publish another report which would probably call for the suspension of negotiations related to Turkey's customs union with the EU. A showdown with Ankara now looks set for mid-December when the European Council meets.
Actually, the Turks are much cheered by EU Commision President Jose Manuel Barroso's comments today that EU Accession talks with Turkey will not face immediate suspension despite a continued dispute over Cyprus. In short, the Report is much as expected , i.e., critical but not overly so and wide open to interpretation by both supporters and critics of Turkey's EU ambitions. That's how it looks from Istanbul.
If you are a masochist, the commission's full report is here (PDF)

2 comments:

Colin said...

Istanbultory,

What an indecent proposal to become a masochist and read the EU report.

istanbultory said...

True, its more of a sedative than a stimulant.