At ﬁrst glance, the thousand-page National Programme is an impressive declaration of Ankara’s intent to create a western European-style democracy, characterised by the rule of law and all the rights and freedoms – of speech, thought, action, assembly, respect for minorities – that EU candidate countries are obliged to adopt. It promises a wide-ranging constitutional review, and commits Ankara to almost two hundred new or amended laws.
Can Turkey deliver?
However, EU ofﬁcials and diplomats have generally greeted the Programme with a polite, encouraging, but cautious, welcome. There have been references to the need to fully digest its contents, reminders that Commission progress reports on each candidate are due later in the year, and rather more pointed observations – prompted by Ankara’s unsatisfactory track record of fulﬁlling promises – that any ﬁnal judgment will be based on implementation rather than declarations of intent.