In 1977, late French President Francois Mitterand, then opposition leader, told a French magazine: "One has to be careful not to turn the common market into a mere free trade zone. Neither Greece nor Spain is in a position to join the (European) Community. Accession is neither in their interest nor is it in our interest. Interim steps are desirable."
Four years later, Mitterand was elected president of France. By the time he left the presidency in 1995, Greece, Spain and Portugal had been EU members for more than a decade, negotiations were completed with Austria, Finland and Sweden, and the first steps had been taken towards the admission of post-communist Central and Eastern Europe.
It means that Turkey has a very long way to go and that the pace of reforms should not slow down. On the contrary, no matter what the political benefit, Ankara should give emphasis to political and economic reform and even the staunchest European political opponent to Turkey's membership would have to change their mind.
Turkey must change from a military republic into a democratic republic a Turkish professor told yesterday.