Between the rock of the French and Dutch referenda and the hard place of the looming early elections in Germany, Turkey has reiterated its determination to seek full EU membership. Ankara has also named its chief EU negotiator.
Turkey’s 38-year-old chief EU negotiator Ali Babacan is a founding member of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) who believes that there is no slowdown in Ankara’s reforms, notwithstanding that “political reforms, unlike economic reforms, do need some adjustment time to change the mental framework of the people”. In an interview with Reuters a few days prior to his appointment on 24 May, Babacan said that Turkey had no reason to fear from the referendum in France provided that Ankara stayed calm, pursued its own reform agenda and met all EU conditions for opening accession negotiations on 3 October 2005. He has said that he had “no solid reason” to believe that the scheduled 3 October launch of accession talks would be in jeopardy.
Handling matters this way throws all the pressure back on the EU. “We are ready to negotiate, now lets get on with it”.