There is a gap between the E.U. Commission's 1999 conclusion that "there are serious shortcomings in terms of human rights and protection of minorities,"63 and the Calendar's more optimistic assessment that there are "some omissions, problems and limitations." Both parties should bridge that gap-not with a diplomatic form of words but with a detailed program of work. The Report and Calendar are written in an energetic and open tone that is not matched by their substantive content. There are many valuable proposals, but the program is insufficiently specific, omits several fundamental issues, and is based on a timescale so generous that it looks like procrastination.
The Commission and the Turkish authorities would be wrong to settle for incremental improvements on the assumption that time is on their side. Turkey's own citizens are paying the price for delay. Moreover, there is no guarantee that the present window of opportunity will remain open. The illegal armed political organizations and their lawless counterparts in the deep state, both nourished by instability, have repeatedly destroyed similar opportunities during the 1990s. Thoroughgoing human rights reform is undoubtedly the most effective way of cutting the ground from under them and setting Turkey firmly on the path to E.U. membership.63 1999 Regular Report from the Commission on Turkey's Progress Towards Accession, October 1999.