Monitor: The Turkish press reacts to the acceptance of Turkey as a candidate for admission to the European Union

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Milliyet

It is of great importance for Turkey to join this union, which may become a new superpower in the next century, at the very last minute. Candidacy status is most certainly a significant milestone on a long and winding path. However, we have before us a difficult hill to climb. Serious measures have to be taken concerning the areas of democracy and human rights which may cause disputes. Ankara has to make changes to her foreign policy and has to display a co-operative approach, especially on the issues of Cyprus and the Aegean. Even though the final communique is not a legal document, it brings new obligations to Turkey. Is Turkey ready to evaluate her domestic and foreign problems under a totally different light? How determined is she to introduce radical new strategies and solutions? If Turkey wants to enter the 21st century as a prosperous country integrated within the Western world and reaching its standards, she will accomplish what is required for this purpose. Otherwise, EU candidacy will be nothing more than just a name on our lapel, a worthless prize. (Sami Kohen)

Hurriyet

Turkey should become a country in which the legal order works perfectly. Justice has to work in a fair and timely fashion. All things disrupting our social life should be eliminated. The outdated mentality existing within the administration should be radically altered, the quality of education should be elevated and future generations should be raised to be more informed and better-equipped to deal with our likely problems. The state system should be arranged in such a way as to not allow corruption. Entrepreneurs should be supported. This list can go on and on. However, Turks are able to overcome all difficulties. The prime minister said that Turkey would reach the target set sooner than the date set because he was relying on the determination of Turkish society. What Ecevit is envisaging is not a dream. All the world will see that we will achieve this goal. We have to analyse the reasons why countries that rejected our membership two years ago are now welcoming it with such enthusiasm. (Tufan Turenc)

Turkish Daily News

This is the dawn of a new era for Turkey, and it calls for national mobilisation to get our act together and start creating the conditions which will lead to the start of accession talks with the European Union. The struggle to become a candidate for EU membership is over. Turkey has performed well despite the odds, and with the help of some good friends, such as Germany, France and Britain within the EU and the United States across the Atlantic, Ankara has literally muscled its way into the EU family photo. Turkey's candidacy is unconditional and it will be treated like all other candidates. However, if we want accession talks to start we will have to fulfill some conditions, such as sorting out our problems with Greece and helping to find a solution to the Cyprus dispute, besides fulfilling the Copenhagen criteria, which require genuine democratic reforms in Turkey. Are we prepared to put aside our prejudices about the Europeans who, some of us feel, are ready to interfere in our internal affairs and divide, or incapacitate, our country? As from today we all have to be prepared for our prospective European partners and the European Commission to have a stronger say over anti-democratic policies in Turkey. Will those who could not stomach the calls for change and reform by the chief justice of the Supreme Court of Appeals be able to digest future European calls for political reform? (Ilnur Cevik)

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