Europe Pressures Turkey to Curb Corruption; Warns Accession in the Balance
Byline: Andrew Borowiec, THE WASHINGTON TIMES
NICOSIA, Cyprus - International pressures are growing on Turkey to clean up its scandal-ridden politics before it starts talks on accession to the European Union.
In diplomatic notes and publicized statements, EU officials and members of several governments also criticized the military elite's interference in politics as well as Turkey's refusal to admit the World War I massacres of Armenians.
Diplomats say Turkey has shown no indications it is taking the warnings seriously. The accession talks are scheduled to start in October, and EU officials expect the process to last for up to 10 years.
European politicians hostile to Turkey's accession say that unless Ankara complies with EU requirements, its application will be delayed further. Although only 5 percent of its territory is on the European continent, modern Turkey has been knocking on Europe's doors for about 40 years.
EU chanceries were alarmed in recent weeks after Gen. Hilmi Ozkok, chief of the Turkish General Staff, warned that Turkey had no intention of withdrawing its troops from Northern Cyprus nor of taking responsibility for the Armenian genocide.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, apparently to compensate for his government's difficulties at home, has been concentrating on foreign policy issues. During last week's trip to Israel and the Palestinian territories, he promised "action" to advance the peace process in the Middle East. …