Banking on TurkeyIssue: Winter 2004-2005
Barring a last-minute crisis, the Council of Ministers of the European Union appears likely to invite Turkey to begin membership negotiations in 2005 after its summit meeting this December. The European Commission's explicit positive recommendation and the acknowledgement in an annual progress report that Turkey has achieved the required threshold to meet the 1993 Copenhagen political criteria reduces the ability of the more reluctant EU members to base their opposition to the launch of talks on technical grounds.
There should be no illusions, however. Turkey's accession negotiations are expected to be long, nonlinear and open-ended, due to continued fears across Europe about admitting a poor, populous, Muslim country. This process will nonetheless provide an anchor for Turkey to stabilize its economy and attract much-needed foreign investment.