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Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Deal reached on EU-Turkey talks


The Turkish government has accepted the terms set by the European Union for membership negotiations to begin.

Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul said Ankara had reached agreement on a draft deal, and was flying to Luxembourg for the start of the talks.

The move follows more than 24 hours of fraught discussions among EU nations.

Members agreed on the terms of entry talks, after Austria withdrew a demand that Turkey should be offered an option short of full membership.

Turkey had flatly rejected such an option.

Mr Gul told reporters at Ankara airport that an "historic point has been reached today", adding that Turkey "has embarked on a new era".

"The text sets out very clearly the prospect of full membership. There is no alternative option (mentioned)," he went on.

Meanwhile, in Luxembourg, UK Foreign Secretary Jack Straw, who led what he called "a pretty gruelling 30 hours of negotiations", called it a "truly historic day for Europe and the whole of the international community".

He warned it would be a "long road ahead", with negotiations expected to take about 10 years, but added, "I have no doubt that if bringing Turkey in is the prize, it is worth fighting."

Mr Straw said he hoped Mr Gul would arrive in time to open the talks formally before midnight (2200 GMT).

Before the late breakthrough, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan had insisted he would not compromise on his stance, "which is appropriate to Turkey's national interests and political principles".


Blogger Gustav said...

Since comparisons are bound to be made...

Jan III Sobieski:

John Sobieski's military prowess, as exhibited in a war against the Ottoman Empire, contributed to his election as king of Poland. One of Sobieski's ambitions was to unify the Christian Europe in a crusade to drive the Turks out of Europe. He allied with the Holy Roman Emperor and joined the Holy League initiated by Pope Innocent XI to preserve the Christendom.

According to Oscar Halecki, noted Polish historical writer, John III planned to occupy Prussia with Swedish cooperation and French support. This undertaking was doomed to failure, because of the war with Turkey and the opposition of magnates.

His greatest success came on September 12, 1683 as victor at the Battle of Vienna, with Polish, Austrian and German troops, once more against the Turks under Kara Mustafa. The pope and other foreign dignitaries then hailed Sobieski as the "Savior of Vienna and Western European civilization." In a letter to his wife he wrote, ...All the common people kissed my hands, my feet, my clothes; others only touched me, saying: Ach, let us kiss so valiant a hand!".

10/04/2005 12:20:00 AM  

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