Some broadsheet newspapers in Britain earlier this week carried a large advertisement featuring a photograph of Tony Blair with the words: “We would like to share a thought with Mr Blair: The only way to have a friend, is to be one.” First thoughts suggested that this ad. must be somehow connected with Mr and Mrs Blair's current troubles – perhaps a reminder from Cherie's style advisor Carole Caplin that she should not be thrown to the media wolves under pressure from Alastair Campbell. But closer examination showed that it had been placed by a consortium of Turkish business interests in order to draw attention to the merits of Turkey's case for membership of the European Union which is being considered at an EU summit in Copenhagen today.

It would be interesting to know whether this advertisement was carried in newspapers in other parts of Europe with suitably altered text to address Sr. Aznar, M. Chirac, Herr Schroeder and all the others. Britain is one of the strongest supporters of Turkey's EU membership; France and Germany are less enthusiastic; the Danes, who currently hold the presidency of the EU, believe that Turkey needs to do more to improve its record in human rights and some other related areas before its application can be considered. But Turkey has moved decisively on reforms in recent years and this week's chance to begin the integration of a largely Muslim country based partly in Europe into the democratic institutions and practices of the EU should simply not be missed.

MONITOR

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