Turkey and EU hail membership talks

After 40 years of political manuvering, Turkey finally took its first steps towards requesting membership to the European Union. However the move is not universially excepted in Europe and in Turkey particularly.

Agreement was reached on the framework for the membership at the last minute. The turning point came when Austria withdrew its demand that Turkey be offered an option short of full membership - a possibility flatly rejected by Turkey.

Austria's Chancellor Wolfgang Schuessel has defended his country's position, saying he was "proud" of its tough stance. Austria eventually thawed at the idea that Croatia's membership being up for discussion.

Mixed feelings about the milestone were coming out of Istanbul this morning as concerns about changing Turkey's cultural and social habits to accommodate EU ministers surfaced. In light of the War on Terror Turkey's creditials will be particularly scrutinized.

Interviews of Turkish citizens from the BBC:

"I do not want to join the EU, it's a christian club!" fumed Yavuz, a newsagent in the heart of the European side of this city that spans two continents. "Europe has been hypocritical since Ottoman times. They don't have good intentions towards us. They only want our land. They will never take us in."

"I don't feel good about the EU now," Ayshe admitted. "They will give us such long dates to become members. They will make us come crawling and then wring everything out of us."


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