Apprendre et pratiquer l'ANGLAIS  (janvier 2005)

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The fireworks and rallies that greeted Turkey's successful bid to begin entry talks with the EU have given way to apprehension over whether Ankara will eventually become a full member. Turkish newspapers have stressed that the negotiations are open-ended with no guaranteed outcome and that the long road ahead remains littered with obstacles.

As Dutch Foreign Minister Ben Bot pointed out, one major headache will be referendums on Ankara's accession, planned in sceptical countries such as France and Austria. An election victory by Germany's opposition conservatives in 2006 would also cause problems.

Turkish and European leaders found a crucial compromise over Cyprus at the landmark Brussels summit, but Turkey's domestic opposition has accused Prime Minister Erdogan of a fudge. It says his pledge to extend an association agreement to the ten new member states amounts to recognition of the divided island, Erdogan denied that.

It is not just public opinion in Europe that has been polarised by Turkey's accession bid. The issue has also caused splits at government level. Italy is a staunch supporter of Ankara but that did not stop the Northern League, a member of the ruling coalition, organising this rally against Turkish entry.

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