Twenty-two months ago, I was in Istanbul when Al Qaeda’s attacks took place. I was with the British Ambassador and Abdullah Gül. I was able to see from people’s reaction in the city that Istanbul was an European city. I often remember that day as I work on the Turkish accession.
As October 3 approaches, the date of the opening of negotiations, it is necessary to stress the significance of Turkey for Europe. When I was a kid, I was taught that the border between Europe and Asia was the Bosporus and it is true that Turkey is influenced by the “Asian” world. However, since long ago, Europe decided that Turkey had to be one of its members. In 1952, Ankara became a NATO member and, in 1963, it signed an association agreement with the EEC. The said agreement is the foundation of Turkey’s candidacy whose idea has made progress as some approaches have been made.
As for the Turkey’s issue, the type of Europe that we want is at stake: either a closer or a more open one. We have no choice: stopping the expansion would make us weaker to the emerging Asian powers. The expansion would not weaken the member countries but would strengthen them. Turkey has an annual economic growth rate of 10% and half of its trade is with the European Union. The time has come for Turkey to see the compensation of the reforms initiated by Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The Cyprus issue has to be resolved, while the failure to open negotiations would affect Europe’s credibility and Turkey’s reforms.

International Herald Tribune (France)
The International Herald Tribune is a version of the New York Times adapted for the European public. It works in direct association with Haaretz (Israel), Kathimerini (Greece), Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (Germany), JoongAng Daily (South Korea), Asahi Shimbun (Japan), The Daily Star (Lebanon) and El País (Spain). It also works, through its head office, in indirect association with Le Monde (France).

Shift Europe’s boundary”, by Jack Straw, International Herald Tribune, September 8, 2005.