Babacan, however, said the EU's relations with Turkey were being closely watched by the rest of the world.
 
If the EU failed to keep the objective of eventual Turkish membership in the talks, he said, "not only Turkey but the EU as well will be damaged from this, at a scale beyond its frontiers and even at global proportions".
 
European interest
 
The EU was keen to stress that the opening of two chapters proved membership talks were proceeding.
 
"This is quite significant progress, and the process is well on track," said Steinmeier, who chaired the talks and whose country currently holds the rotating EU presidency.
 
Steinmeier said Turkey's eventual entry into the 27-nation bloc "is in the interest of everyone in Europe."
 
Turkey has already opened and closed talks with the EU on science, and opened talks on industry.
 
Talks stalled
 
EU legislation, which countries must implement before joining the body, is divided into 35 policy areas and there are as many chapters of talks.
 
Special report

A series of reports ahead of the country's parliamentary elections

The negotiations, which were launched in October 2005, have made little progress.
 
Talks came to a virtual standstill late last year when EU leaders decided to partially suspend negotiations in protest at Ankara's refusal to open its ports to trade with EU member Cyprus.
 
Turkey does not recognize the government of Cyprus, which has led to a standoff between Brussels and Ankara over the membership bid.
 
Nicolas Sarkozy, France's new president, has said he opposes Turkey's membership bid.
 
France and Cyprus have in recent months co-operated to stall and delay progress in the entry negotiations.