Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan will start a difficult visit to Brussels Thursday, trying to revive a European Union entry bid that is facing new signs of hostility from some member states, Reuters reported.
Erdogan's second trip this year to EU headquarters comes with membership talks almost at a standstill, raising doubts over whether Turkey's decades-old dream is attainable.
The success of some conservative parties opposed to Turkey in this month's European Parliament election, in which EU 'enlargement fatigue' and hostility to Ankara became a campaign issue in some countries, has dealt a blow to its hopes.
Reforms long demanded by the EU, such as reforming the military-inspired constitution, have fallen prey to Turkey's chronic political infighting.
Further darkening the mood is an alleged plot by the Turkish army to undermine Erdogan's Islamist-rooted AK Party. If proved authentic, it would confirm critics' fears the "old Turkey" of generals meddling in politics has not been banished to the past.
"We are getting very close to a crunch," said Amanda Akcakoca, an analyst at the European Policy Centre in Brussels. "Turkey needs to think out of the box and do something unexpected to impress Europe."
Any sign that Turkey is throwing in the towel on its EU campaign, an anchor for political and financial reform in a country prone to instability, would have negative consequences for investors and would unsettle markets.