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Not Turkey's Day

Despite the Pope's recent blessing, it looks like the European Union is still lukewarm, to say the least, toward Turkey's attempt to join it:

The European Union's executive arm on Wednesday recommended cutting off talks with Turkey on several key issues in its efforts to join the 25-country bloc, a day after Pope Benedict XVI expressed support for the predominantly Muslim country's pursuit of membership.
"We confirm these negotiations must continue although at slower pace," E.U. Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn told reporters in Brussels. "There will be no train crash. There is a slowing down because of works further down the tracks. However, the train continues to move."

You can really give those train metaphors a good work-out. An American friend who has spent the last few years in Turkey says the feeling among liberal, pro-Europe Turks is that Cyprus, ostensibly the main stumbling block, is a legitimate issue (Turkey is taking various steps to economically undermine the long-disputed island's internationally supported government) for Europe to be concerned about. But the conventional wisdom in Istanbul is that no matter what Turkey does, the European Union will find a reason to reject Turkish membership. --Isaac Chotiner