| Turkey-Europe: The Widening Gap

The possibility of Turkish EU accession appears increasingly uncertain. In recent weeks, European leaders have voiced unease over Ankara’s membership bid, citing concerns over Turkey’s infringement on freedom of expression and its embargo on Cypriot ships and planes (AP), the latter a manifestation of a long-standing dispute over division of the Aegean Sea with Greece. Some EU members, including France and Germany, have suggested Turkey seek “privileged partnership” rather than full membership. Olli Rehn, commissioner of EU enlargement, opposed this idea, but warned the Turkish accession process that began in October 2005 has been slowed by Ankara’s failure to repeal Article 301, which gives the government free reign to arrest journalists and activists for disparaging Turkey. In an interview with the BBC, EU President Jose Manuel Barroso said it could take twenty years for Turkey to become a member nation.

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