The European Union opened membership talks with Turkey early Tuesday, after settling last-minute objections by Austria.
EU foreign ministers ended 30 hours of heated emergency meetings late Monday in Luxembourg with Austrian officials withdrawing Vienna's demand that the EU retain the option of offering Turkey a limited partnership. Turkey had rejected the option.
Austria's cooperation paved the way for all 25 EU member-states to agree on a negotiating framework for the membership process, which is expected to take about 10 years.
A brief ceremony to officially open the talks took place shortly after midnight Tuesday in Luxembourg. Talks had been scheduled to open Monday.
If accepted, Turkey would be the first country with a majority Muslim population to join the European Union. It has been an associate member of the bloc since 1963.