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Monday, 5 August, 2002, 12:16 GMT 13:16 UK
Analysis: Is Turkey ready for Europe?
MHP rally
Turkey wants a date set for membership talks soon

The Turkish parliament has approved major reforms as part of its membership bid to join the European Union, but Europe wants to see words turned into action before agreeing to anything.

The contrast between reaction to the reforms in Ankara and in Brussels could hardly be more striking.

Some of Turkey's newspapers have been running ecstatic headlines like "Europe, Here We Come".

In pro-European circles, the feeling is that Turkish politicians have finally done what is necessary - and it is now up to Europe to open the door.

The EU response, however, has been to welcome the approval of the reform package, but to stress that a great deal still has to be done.

European officials want to see how the reforms will be implemented - and to see genuine progress on human rights and on foreign-policy issues such as the Cyprus dispute.

Ambivalence

In fact, despite opinion polls showing some 70% of Turks favour membership, there is a great deal of ambivalence in the Turkish-EU relationship.

Many Turks resent what they regard as European interference in such sensitive issues as the Kurdish problem - a feeling right-wing nationalists are hoping to exploit in elections due in three months' time.

For their part, European politicians believe Turkey's generals still have too much say in running the country - and, in private, they are uneasy about letting a predominantly Muslim country join the club.

Turks believe they are entitled to be given a date for accession talks at the next EU summit in December. EU officials say that is far from certain.


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03 Aug 02 | Europe
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