30 November 2004
November 30 2004
Sir, Val+®ry Giscard d'Estaing's poor arguments cannot be an excuse to say No to Turkey. To my surprise, he still suggests privileged partnership with Turkey. But the Turkish government has repeatedly declared that such an offer would never be accepted.
I believe that shutting the door in the face of an economically stabilised and secular democratic country, already embraced by all European organisations, would not be of benefit to the European Union. It must also be taken into account that a No to Turkey on December 17 would strengthen anti-western forces in the country. Reforms would possibly be suspended. Therefore, many Turks' main concern is not whether Turkey would be a member of the EU, but the membership process.
Turkey is becoming a more open, more democratic and economically healthier country. Instead of disappointing pro-western Turks and blocking the road to democratisation, a Yes from European leaders to Turkey's membership would bring fruitful results for both sides.
Anyway, negotiations are expected to take 10 to 15 years. There would always be the possibility of saying No if Turkey did not fulfil the criteria for membership, as Jean-Pierre Lehmann (Letters, November 24) clearly pointed out.
Turkey has kept its promise and has already taken tremendous steps on its way to membership. I am afraid that refusing Turkish accession would be a historic mistake on the EU's part.
Source: Financial Times