PAPER CRITICIZES ANKARA FOR ITS USELESS EFFORTS TO JOIN EU

Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA), Iran
Oct 3 2005

An Iranian newspaper here Monday criticized Turkey for its useless
efforts during the past decades to win the membership of the European
Union.

`Iran Daily' slammed Ankara for continuing "to endure the humiliation
and insults from Europe" which refused to give "the Islamic state"
a green light to join the "Christian club".

The editorial noted that the majority of the public opinion in the
EU countries like France, Germany, the Netherlands and Austria are
against Muslim Turkey's entry in the grouping.

"In fact, Turkey was one of the main reasons for the rejection of
the European Constitution by France and the Netherlands in June,"
stressed the English-language paper.

The editorial said the EU has set up "a string of roadblocks on
Turkey's complicated path towards Europe" and among them referred
to issues such as Cyprus, human rights, reforms, Armenian "genocide"
and "special relationship".

"If Turkey had invested so much of its effort and focus in
consolidating relations with the Muslim world instead of Europe,
it would have paid dividends and it would have been accepted with
dignity and respect," the daily regretted.

It further noted that even if the EU agrees to begin accession talks
with Turkey on October 3, "The negotiations will likely be open ended
and without any guarantee that Ankara will ever become a member.

"Needless to say, the Europeans have lot of tricks under their sleeves
to make the talks more difficult - human rights, reforms and religion -
with Turkey whenever they feel like."

According to the paper the assertion by the Turkish Prime Minister
Recep Tayyip Erdogan that by joining the EU, Turkey will become
"a bridge between the EU and Muslim world sounds hollow".

It stressed that having embraced the secular Kemalist ideology,
Ankara has "lost all its influence in the Islamic world".

"Secular Turks are gradually learning the hard way that the European
grapes are sour," stressed the paper.