Richard North, 03/10/2005  

The EU foreign ministers in Luxembourg may have beaten Austria into submission and decided that they will, after all, generously keep to their original agreement to open accession talks with Turkey.

But, according to current reports, Turkish officials on the spot have only reached a tentative agreement to join in the talks but Ankara has not yet approved the EU document.

Confusion seem to reign, however, as CNN-Turk and NTV television stations have reported that Ankara had approved the EU document and that Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul was preparing to depart for Luxembourg.

But Akif Beki, spokesman for prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, has denied reports that Turkey had given its approval. "Talks are continuing. There is no agreement yet," he said.

Needless to say, we cannot judge what, if any, might be the hang-ups as the foreign ministers' document has not been released and, it appears, Austria has gained some concessions. Transparency, it seems, is all very well, but there are limits, dammit.


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