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Last Updated: Wednesday, 6 October, 2004, 11:57 GMT 12:57 UK
Turkish press caution on EU decision
Turkish press graphic

As the European Commission reports on Turkey's readiness to begin full negotiations on joining the EU, Turkish newspapers are more cautious than optimistic.

"Tough bargaining" is the headline of three newspapers across the political spectrum, the liberal Vatan, the moderate islamist Zaman and the popular Posta, while the headline in the leftist Cumhuriyet reads: "Nothing but conditions".

Some commentators accuse the EU of seeking to place obstacles in the way of Turkish membership, while others fear that Ankara might trip itself up in the run-up to the decision to be taken by EU leaders on 17 December on whether to set a date for membership talks.

Writing in the top circulation Hurriyet, Emin Colasan fears the EU "will lay down so many conditions and will again play with us like a cat plays with a mouse".

"No other country has pleaded at its door and had its honour trampled."

"The report... is full of suspicions and based on lies," rails Cumhuriyet, complaining that Turkey will be set conditions which have not been applied to other aspiring members.

Under scrutiny

Writing in Zaman, Abdulhamit Bilici accuses the EU of "looking for formulas to kick the ball out", or break its promises to Turkey.

He says Brussels is caught between its past pledges to Ankara and its failure adequately to prepare EU public opinion for Turkey's membership.

Not only Turkey, but "the whole world with its East and West, with its Muslims and Arabs", is keeping a close eye on how fairly the EU treats Turkey.

"The EU press appears to have discovered Turkey for the first time. Everybody is confused and questions how we have arrived at this point," writes a bemused columnist in Posta.

"It is like they are having a nightmare, and will wake up one day dripping with sweat, and they will then realise that Turkey's full membership is not true."

Trouble ahead?

A Milliyet columnist warns of possible problems ahead.

"Does the matter end by getting a green light from the commission this morning? In a way it ends, but in a way it doesn't. There is quite a long time until 17 December. We, the Turks, can again create a needless crisis with our own hands."

Similar fears are aired by Radikal commentator Murat Yetkin.

"What the government should do is try not to take any backward steps until 17 December, try not to bring about any crises which will put Turkey in a difficult position."

However, another Radikal columnist, Ismet Berkan, takes a more upbeat line. "On 17 December, Europe will decide not only on Turkey, but on its own and the world's future.

"If Europe can turn this curve, if it can move towards making Turkey a full member, this will be a giant opportunity to change the flow of history."

BBC Monitoring, based in Caversham in southern England, selects and translates information from radio, television, press, news agencies and the Internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages.




SEE ALSO:
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Q&A: Turkey and the EU
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Excerpts: EU study on Turkey
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Country profile: Turkey
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