Turkey hopes to start membership negotiations during the first half of next year, according to Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Turkey hopes to start membership negotiations during the first half of next year, according to Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. He also acknowledged that his country's membership of the EU would not be achieved overnight but criticised the Union for adding special conditions for Turkish membership. The European Commission agreed this week to declare Turkey ready to launch membership negotiations. But Brussels stressed that negotiations could be stopped at any time if Turkey violates human rights. In addition, the report recommended restrictions on freedom of movement for Turks hoping to move to the EU. The final decision of when to start membership negotiations with Turkey lies with the EU leaders meeting in Brussels for an EU summit in December. Erdogan focussed in his speech on Cyprus and called it "a step in the right direction" that the parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe this week invited representatives from the Turkish Cypriots community to sit in its Chamber as observers. Two elected representatives of the Turkish Cypriots will be able to speak but not to vote in the chamber. (EUobserver.com)