News / Europe

EU Revives Membership Talks with Turkey After 3-year Hiatus

European Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighborhood Policy Stefan Fuele addresses the media, at the European Commission headquarters in Brussels, Oct. 16, 2013.European Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighborhood Policy Stefan Fuele addresses the media, at the European Commission headquarters in Brussels, Oct. 16, 2013.
x
European Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighborhood Policy Stefan Fuele addresses the media, at the European Commission headquarters in Brussels, Oct. 16, 2013.
European Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighborhood Policy Stefan Fuele addresses the media, at the European Commission headquarters in Brussels, Oct. 16, 2013.
Reuters
The European Union will launch a new round of accession talks with Turkey next month following a three-year hiatus after Germany dropped opposition prompted by Ankara's crackdown on street protests.

Turkey began negotiations to join the EU in 2005, 18 years after applying, but a series of political obstacles, notably over Cyprus and resistance to Turkish membership in Germany and France, have slowed progress.

The new “chapter” of negotiations with the 28-member bloc will open on Nov. 5 and the process should be accelerated to help Ankara implement democratic reforms, EU enlargement commissioner Stefan Fuele said.

“Recent developments in Turkey underline the importance of EU engagement and of the EU remaining the benchmark for reform in Turkey,” he said.

Many EU capitals want to take the long-awaited step on Turkey's path towards the EU, arguing Europe should capitalize on Ankara's rapid growth and rising influence in the Middle East. Others are nervous about an expansion that would see the bloc bordering countries including Syria, Iraq and Iran.

Earlier this month, the European Commission praised recent judicial reforms in Turkey and the government's announcement last month of a package of laws designed to salvage a peace process with Kurdish insurgents.

In its progress report it accused Turkish police, however, of using excessive force to quell protests that started at the end of May, urging the government to strengthen oversight of the police and press ahead with investigations into their conduct.

Six people were killed and about 8,000 were wounded in violence as the protests against Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan's government swept Turkish cities and police used teargas and water cannon to disperse a sit-in in an Istanbul park.

EU governments, led by Berlin, had postponed plans to launch new talks in June as a rebuke for the handling of the unrest.

'Meaningless obstacles'

The newly opened negotiating chapter - one of more than 30 that need to be discussed before Turkey can join the EU - covers issues dealing with how a country spends EU aid targeted for poor regions.

Turkey's EU affairs minister, Egemen Bagis, welcomed the decision and said he hoped it would mark a new beginning in stalled relations between Ankara and the bloc.

“We hope Turkey's relations with the EU will become more orderly and we will experience a period where illogical, unnecessary and meaningless political obstacles are removed,” he said at a lunch for the EU's outgoing ambassador to Turkey.

Bagis called for the opening of two chapters concerning human rights, freedom of expression and the judiciary, saying the majority of criticism directed towards Turkey in the progress report concerned these areas.

Erdogan, who has bristled at foreign criticism of his handling of the summer unrest and has frequently attacked the EU's attitude towards Turkey, mocked the bloc on Tuesday.

“Is the EU's only preoccupation preparing progress reports on Turkey?” he said in a speech to deputies from his ruling AK Party in parliament.

“The EU is extremely generous in criticizing candidate countries and we are waiting for it to make some self-criticism and write its own progress report.”

You May Like

Nigeria Incumbent in Tight Spot as Poll Nears

Muhammadu Buhari is running a strong challenge to Goodluck Jonathan, amid a faltering economy and Boko Haram security worries More

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo tells VOA that despite her fame, life is still a struggle as she waits for government's promise of support to arrive More

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

At least seven different indigenous groups in Ratanakiri depend mainly on forest products for their survival, say they face loss of their land, traditional way of life More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More