BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific Russian Polish Albanian Greek Czech Ukrainian Serbian Turkish Romanian
BBCi NEWS   SPORT   WEATHER   WORLD SERVICE   A-Z INDEX     

BBC News World Edition
 You are in: Europe  
News Front Page
Africa
Americas
Asia-Pacific
Europe
Middle East
South Asia
UK
Business
Entertainment
Science/Nature
Technology
Health
-------------
Talking Point
-------------
Country Profiles
In Depth
-------------
Programmes
-------------
BBC Sport
BBC Weather
SERVICES
-------------
LANGUAGES
EDITIONS
Friday, 13 December, 2002, 12:52 GMT
Thorny issues for the EU
George Bush and Recep Tayyip Erdogan
US sees Turkey as invaluable ally in the war with Iraq

A sharp debate has erupted following the European Union's decision that Turkey will have to wait at least two more years before it is invited to start negotiations on membership.
British PM Toni Blair and Foreign Secretary Jack Straw
Britain has been pushing for Turkish EU entry

Turkish Prime Minister Abdullah Gul has strongly criticised the decision - while the British Foreign Secretary, Jack Straw, defended the EU's handling of Turkey's application to join.

Britain is one of the countries which has argued that paving the way for Turkish membership of the EU would send a positive signal to the Muslim world.

It would show that Europe was not anti-Muslim - and that a modern Muslim country is capable of being integrated with the West.

But as the mood in Copenhagen descends into mutual recrimination, it is clear that the Turkish question has become entangled with a whole host of issues that are not easy to reconcile.

The relationship between Islam and the West is only one of them.

Europe's concern

For the United States, the issue is essentially strategic. As it prepares for a possible war against Iraq, it sees Turkey as an invaluable ally.

The Europeans see that as only one issue among many - and resent the heavy pressure President Bush has brought to bear on them.

A protester at the EU summit in Copenhagen
The summit showed that historic changes need imaginative leadership
They see integrating Turkey as a huge challenge, and one that cannot be rushed. For some EU members, the priority is human rights.

Others fear that Turkish membership - and the free movement of Turkish workers throughout Europe - would fuel anti-immigrant sentiment.

When tempers have cooled, it may become possible for Turkey and the EU to realise the historic significance of what has been achieved at Copenhagen.

This is that Europe is preparing to redefine itself in an important way, and that this gives Turkey a unique chance to complete its transition to democracy and modernity.

But the other message from this summit is that historic change takes time, and needs imaginative leadership on all sides.


Key stories

Europe's new frontiers

Background

CLICKABLE GUIDES

LaunchIN PICTURES

TALKING POINT

AUDIO VIDEO
See also:

13 Dec 02 | Europe
11 Dec 02 | Europe
13 Dec 02 | Europe
12 Dec 02 | Europe
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Europe stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Europe stories

© BBC ^^ Back to top

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East |
South Asia | UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature |
Technology | Health | Talking Point | Country Profiles | In Depth |
Programmes