I Just found this on a BBc website...Interesting read for anyone not to aware about Turkeys quest to join the EU Q&A: Turkey and the EU The issue of Turkey's membership has moved on apace Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is urging the European Union to start negotiations on Turkey's bid to join the bloc. BBC News Online looks at the issues involved. Why is Turkey's EU membership bid an issue now? The European Commission will publish a report on 6 October, which will say whether Turkey meets the criteria for membership. At a summit in December the EU leaders will use the report as the basis for deciding whether to open negotiations on the Turkish bid. Why does Turkey want to join? Turkey is a poor country, with living standards at about a quarter of EU levels. In the EU, Turkey would benefit from the trade advantages between European nations and with the rest of the world. It would also receive central funding from the EU budget. Reforms inspired by the International Monetary Fund and EU membership criteria have already brought greater stability to the Turkish economy, which is recovering from a severe crisis. Economic growth is forecast to be 7.9% for 2004 and inflation has been dramatically reduced. According to opinion polls, nearly 70% of Turks support joining the EU. How long has it been trying? Turkey first began to woo Europe in 1963, when it signed an association agreement that promised eventual membership of the bloc. Things moved very slowly until 1999, when Turkey was officially recognised as an EU candidate. In 2002 Mr Erdogan, with avid European ambitions, was elected prime minister and quickened political reforms. He has said he believes Turkey could join the EU by 2012. But the negotiations are widely expected to go on for about 15 years. What are the conditions for entry? To join the EU a country has to demonstrate that it fulfils three main criteria: Political - It must be a democracy with stable institutions that guarantee the rule of law. It must respect and protect human rights and minorities. Economic - It must be a functioning market economy and be able to cope with joining the single market. Legal - It must be able to comply with the obligations of EU membership. This includes adopting the body of EU law. What is it doing to support its bid? Earlier this year, Turkish state television lifted its ban on broadcasting in Kurdish, a minority language. The government also released four prominent Kurdish activists. Human rights activists applauded. Over the past 18 months, the government has passed nine reform packages, including a ban on the death penalty, a zero-tolerance policy towards torture in prisons, and a curtailing of military influence. However, Ankara's penal reform bill - designed to bring it into line with human rights laws across Europe - tripped up over European opposition to a clause that would ban adultery. Mr Erdogan has now said the clause - seen as a concession to Islamist hardliners - will not appear in the new penal code. Who is in favour of Turkey's bid, and why? Backers say Turkey would bring rapid economic growth, a young workforce, and a huge army to the EU's table. They see a westernised Turkey as a bulwark against Islamic fundamentalism. The move to ban adultery sparked protests and EU anxiety The UK is a key supporter. Prime Minister Tony Blair said in May that "Turkey's accession will be a good thing for us all". US President George Bush has also pushed the EU to welcome a key Nato ally. "Including Turkey would expose the clash of civilisations as a passing myth of history," he said. The European enlargement commissioner, Guenter Verheugen, says Turkey's strategic position straddling Europe and the Middle East is an asset rather than a drawback. The reform process in Turkey "has a meaning for the whole Islamic world, because it demonstrates that there's no contradiction between the universal values of human rights, democracy, the state of law and a country with a Muslim population and Muslim background," he said. French President Jacques Chirac and German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder have backed Turkey - though there is also strong opposition in both countries. Who is opposed, and why? In Austria, Germany, France and Spain there is significant opposition. Some opponents object to Europe incorporating a Muslim nation, and one that is geographically mostly in Asia, noting that it would increase the EU's proportion of Muslims from 3%to 20% overnight. They say it would extend the EU's borders to Iraq, Iran and Syria, threatening stability. Its size and poverty could also drain EU resources, they say, and there could be a wave of Turkish migrants across Europe. The EU's internal market commissioner Frits Bolkestein said Turkey would have to change its identity completely before it could join the EU. Referring to the historic expansion of the Ottoman empire in Europe, he warned that "the liberation of Vienna in 1683 would have been in vain". What are Turkey's chances? The row over the adultery clause in the penal reform bill erupted just when everything seemed to be on course for Turkey to get the green light. The legal reforms are crucial to Turkey's bid - and the European Commission now seems satisfied that they are on track.