Tomorrow, October 3rd, and after 40 years of negotiations, it is expected that formal talks will begin on the membership of Turkey to the European Union. But the recently announced opposition of some of EU member countries, explicitly Austria, has fuelled a crisis in the process. This week, the European Parliament demanded extempore that Turks acknowledge as genocide the mass killing of Armenians 90 years ago and that they recognise Cyprus, one of the youngest EU members. In order to find a last minute solution, the European Foreign Ministers are meeting in Luxembourg at the time of this post, trying to find a plausible solution for all parties. Nobody can reasonably deny that Turkey has fulfilled all the conditions established by Brussels to start this process and it would be right and beneficial for Europe to continue ahead.
Turkey is one of the signatories of the Bologna Agreement. The quality of its higher education system has improved significantly in the past decade, and it currently comprises 53 public and 19 private universities. The country has still few business schools but some of them are gaining international recognition and attracting students from overseas. On-line education has also grown importantly in recent years. Certainly, the increasing internationalisation of Turkish universities is contributing to modernise the country and given its key geopolitical enclave, it can become the pole of attraction of many students from Eastern Europe and the Middle East.
The Turkish Prime Minister has warned the EU members they are facing the acid test of whether Europe is a "global power or a Christian club." The words are unfortunate and may heat further debate about the inclusion of Turkey in Europe. But I hope they are judged as a spontaneous statement in the preliminaries of the negotiations.