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.
TEXT SIZE - +
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

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

John the XXIII and John Paul II will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square on April 27 More

Thailand Reacts to Plots Targeting Israelis

Authorities hope arrest of two Lebanese suspects will disrupt plot to attack young Israeli tourists More

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

'Once Upon a Forest' takes viewers deep into heart of tropical rainforest More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Churchi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
Jerome Socolovsky
April 22, 2014 4:14 PM
On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Robotic Mission Kicks Up Lunar Dust

A robotic mission to the moon was deliberately crashed onto the lunar surface late last week, but not before scientists had collected data gathered by the spacecraft which was designed to self-destruct. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports on the preliminary findings of the craft, called LADEE - an acronym for Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer.
Video

Video Boko Haram Claims Responsibility for Bombing in Nigerian Capital

The Nigerian militant group known as Boko Haram has claimed responsibility for a bombing in the capital on April 14th that killed 75 people. In the video message, Abubakar Shekau, the man who says he ordered the bombing, says nothing about the mass abduction of more than 100 teenage girls, most of whom are still missing. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from Abuja.
Video

Video Ukraine Developments Hang Over Obama Trip to Asia

President Barack Obama's trip to Asia this week comes as concerns over Beijing's territorial ambitions are growing in the region. Those concerns have been compounded by Russia's recent actions in Ukraine and the possibility that Chinese strategists might be looking to Crimea as a model for its territorial disputes with its neighbors. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid