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Last Updated: Tuesday, 4 October 2005, 09:56 GMT 10:56 UK
Turkey press sees tough road ahead

Newspapers in Turkey view the start of negotiations to join the EU with a mixture of hope and trepidation.

Some commentators see the path to full membership strewn with pitfalls, and one believes the whole process is a cruel hoax which will end in tears.

However, others are optimistic, seeing the process as building a vital bridge between different civilisations.

Commentator in leftist Radikal

A middle way has been found and Turkey has officially begun negotiations. This means we have stepped over the threshold. Until today the door was half open and one of our feet was inside; now our whole body is inside. Our target now is to sit on a chair in the sitting room which will suit us.

Commentator in liberal, pro-Islamic Yeni Safak

The problems have not ended with the start of negotiations. On the contrary, we are entering the most delicate period of the EU adventure. The process requires Turkey to harmonise its standards with the EU. It is inevitable there will be serious stresses in every area.

Commentator in Yeni Safak

The important thing is that the EU has not given up on Turkey and similarly Turkey has not broken off relations with the EU. Both for Turkey's long term interests and for world peace and the contact of civilisations, the important thing is that there has been no split.

Commentator in moderate, pro-Islamic Zaman

Our negotiation process will be very hard. In our open-ended membership adventure, we will seek to continue on our way in a land strewn with mines!

Headline in centre-right Hurriyet

Vienna has fallen: Turkey, repulsed twice in history from the gates of Vienna, now enters Europe through peace and integration.

Commentator in Hurriyet

The EU is in need of Turkey if it wants to be a powerful and great union in the 21st Century, to have its ageing population supported by a pool of young labour, and to narrow the area of influence of the "Islamic terror" which most threatens it.

Commentator in Hurriyet

They will never take us in. They will use and humiliate us; they will play with us and after 15 or 20 years they will reject us. The start of the negotiations is not at all important. They will spring many more intrigues on the Republic of Turkey.

Commentator in tabloid Posta

Today is the most beautiful day of my life, because Turkey has got aboard the EU train. After alighting, no candidate country has ever gotten off along the way. All of them continued until the last station. Turkey, too, will go until the last station.

Commentator in centrist Milliyet

We have passed one more bend. The strengthening of democracy and the extra economic dynamism which the start of negotiations will bring Turkey, will present humanity with the most potent recipe against the 'war of civilisations'.

Commentator in Milliyet

Be sure that 3 October is a real turning point on this important walk towards a democratic state of law and human rights. This is a journey of no return. The train will sometimes slow down, sometimes stop and sometimes speed up. During the membership negotiations, there will be ups and downs, small and big crises. It will be an exciting journey for Turkey.

Commentator in Milliyet

3 October will be the date of the compromise between the civilizations, the defeat of the fanaticism of the 'crescent and the cross'. This step will build a much more beautiful and a safer life for future generations.

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