"Turkey over one of the most historical steps. And, the EU has opened its doors for Turkey." Milliyet
"We did it. Turkey received date for membership talks. 3 October 2005. We could not get all we wanted, yet we did not give all they wanted. Prime Minister summarized the result: We have succeed."
"A New Europe, A New Turkey. The EU's New Family Picture. Ankara got almost all it wanted from Brussels: 1) The negotiations will be started on 3 October 2004. 2) Turkey will not recognize the Greeks in Cyprus. 3) Permanent derogations were limited.
"No matter what happens, we have to accept one reality. The most important corner in the path of Turkey's history has been turned. In the history of modern Turkey, today is a day that will always be remembered... Today is the first day of a process that will carry Turkey to Europe. It is the day when it is declared that the long-standing identity problem of a giant country with 70 million people can end, and that Turkey can play in the premier league."
Posta - commentary by Mehmet Ali Birand
"Is the agreement that was reached in Brussels yesterday perfect, does it satisfy all of Turkey's demands? Of course not... However, according to us, the agreement, which was reached at the EU summit after some very tough discussions and bargaining, satisfies Turkey's wishes and expectations as much as is possible."
Milliyet - commentary by Sami Kohen
"Turkey has taken a fresh leap on the road towards modernisation, in the direction of democracy and the rule of law; where the food and employment problems facing its people are gradually solved and its citizens are given a better quality of life. I believe that Turkey, which will strengthen its political and economic stability, will proceed towards much more beautiful days. A Turkey that has self-confidence will contribute far more to peace and stability in its region and in the world."
Milliyet - commentary by Hasan Cemal
"This is an "acrid" victory. However, it is still a victory. Because the essence of the issue, I mean the date when Turkey will start accession talks with the aim of full membership, is now clear. On 3 October 2005, the process for Turkey's integration into Europe will officially start... In the coming months (but probably before October 2005), we will see whether this undertaking of ours will oblige us to "recognise South Cyprus" or not."
Hurriyet - commentary by Oktay Eksi
At some time or other, but certainly before October 2005, when the talks start, either verbally or not, written or with other guarantees, we will definitely be obliged to recognise the Greek Cypriot side... Those who put Cyprus before us the day before yesterday and yesterday will insist on the recognition issue. And they will achieve their aim. Even if not today, this will become true in the coming months. Because yesterday, we gave them a promise.
Hurriyet - commentary by Emin Colasan
The day before yesterday, the leaders of the EU countries gave Turkey a start date but did not roll out the red carpet on its way towards full membership. They showed Turkey a thorny path... Can we now say that we have a path in front of us without any thorns? No. But at least there is a place to walk on.
Hurriyet - commentary by Ferai Tinc
Yesterday we said "Yes", and with its expression of saying that it [the negotiations process] is "open-ended", the EU said something like "No-Yes"! This means that there is no guarantee of full membership. This "Yes" could always turn into a "No"! Yes, the end of the talks is open, but why have none of the other countries been offered "open-ended" talks while Turkey receives special treatment? We have complex feelings. We cannot be happy, but nor can we be very sad.
Aksam - commentary by Sakir Suter
The EU is a useful tool for us... a very important tool. But the aim must lie far beyond it.
Radikal - commentary by Ismet Berkan
The result from the summit is a major success for Turkey and the government. Making this historical success permanent will be possible with development, for which we, as the whole nation, will be mobilised.
Yeni Safak - commentary by Fehmi Koru
By getting a start date from the EU, Turkey has passed a vital milestone. In addition to that, the conditions that the EU included in the agreement will lead to heavyweight wrestling, and some very difficult years.
Zaman - commentary by Tamer Korkmaz
Source: BBC News and Turkish newspapers
18 December 2004