By Ann Cahill, Europe Correspondent TURKEY and Croatia officially became the latest European Union candidate countries late last night after a day of knife-edge diplomacy. Following more than 30 hours of torturous negotiations and phone calls from US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to Ankara, the way was finally cleared for what should be the first EU member with a Muslim majority. But for Turkey and its population of 70 million it will be a long and winding road with final rejection always a possible outcome while Croatia is almost certain to become the EU’s 28th member by 2010.
Foreign Minister Dermot Ahern said it was a good day for the union. 'It’s important to have Turkey in for the stability and security of Europe and that part of the world,' he said.