On December, 2004, the Heads of State and Government of the European Union decided to open negotiations with Turkey so that it joined the EU, because Europe needs a stable, democratic, prosperous Turkey, which coexists in peace with its neighbors and be respectful of their values in every sense. This is one of our strategic interests in a time when relations with the Muslim world are crucially important. A process of negotiation is an effective means to reach such a goal. The prospect to join the EU is a driving force for reform as strong as it is the entry itself. Turkey’s inclusion has not been performed yet, but that country can anyway profit from the negotiations. This process will also be helpful to settle the Cyprus issue.
Turkey has already passed two reforms demanded by the European Council, that is, the adoption of a new penal law, which is more respectful of Human Rights and the signature of an EU-Turkey association agreement. This agreement allows the free trade of goods, as well as Ankara’s recognition that the EU has 25 members. In fact, after undersigning, Turkish authorities said they did not think such a text would mean the recognition of the Republic of Cyprus. Actually, the EU candidacy of a country that does not recognize the totality of the Union members is an unprecedented record, but it is useless acting as though we had just discovered the Cyprus problem, which dates back to more than 30 years ago. The Greek Cypriots’ rejection of “Plan Annan” has not allowed settling the problem. The Turkish statement is not outstanding for its relevance but neither is it surprising. It is our hope that Turkey will recognize Cyprus at the proper time. Turkey has already expressed its readiness to do it through a reunification under the aegis of the UN.
The key to the solution is in the hands of the two Cyprus communities. The UN must, along with the Turkish negotiations to join the EU, resume the debates over Cyprus. We expect the Ankara’s government to participate in a positive way. On September 1st and 2nd, the EU member states will analyze the negotiation terms proposed by the Commission and the statement issued by Turkey. The reforms undertaken in Turkey provide a solid ground for work. Furthermore, the Turkish statement would not call an already signed protocol into question.
Both in Cold War and in the war against terrorism, Turkey is and will continue to be a strategic partner to Europe. It is wise to give Turkey a chance and let it take advantage of it.

Le Monde (France)

"Donnons sa chance à la Turquie", by Olli Rehn, Le Monde, August 31, 2005.