News / Asia

Turkey Seeks to Revive Its EU Bid

Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan addresses during the Turkey Investment Advisory Council Meeting in Istanbul, May 11, 2012. Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan addresses during the Turkey Investment Advisory Council Meeting in Istanbul, May 11, 2012.
x
Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan addresses during the Turkey Investment Advisory Council Meeting in Istanbul, May 11, 2012.
Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan addresses during the Turkey Investment Advisory Council Meeting in Istanbul, May 11, 2012.
Dorian Jones

ISTANBUL - Turkey is showing renewed interest in reviving its stalled bid to join the European Union now that Nicolas Sarkozy, one of its key opponents, is no longer the president of France. The 27-nation bloc also seems keen to put life back into Ankara's membership aspirations.

The election of French President Francois Hollande has been welcomed in Ankara. Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesman Selcuk Unal said there already is a positive atmosphere.

"Well, we hope and wish that relations could improve with the new French government. The president of Turkey and the prime minister of Turkey have sent messages of congratulations. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan called President Hollande to congratulate him personally, and that was a positive meeting," said Unal.


Snags on path to EU membership

Turkey began its negotiations for EU membership in 2005, but made little progress because of a dispute with EU member Cyprus and opposition from former French president Sarkozy. Sarkozy argued that the predominantly Muslim country is not a part of Europe and wanted Turkey to accept a special partnership with the EU instead of full membership. Turkey rejected the offer.

Also causing the delay is the opening of so-called chapters with which every EU candidate must comply. These relate to everything from the environment and human rights to matching EU standards.

Since talks began, Turkey has addressed just 13 out of 35 chapters, or categories, that all EU candidate countries must line up prior to membership. No chapters have been opened for two years. Eighteen have been frozen - eight by the EU - because of Turkey's refusal to allow Cypriot ships to use Turkish ports. France has been using its veto on a further five chapters.

Renewed effort applied

International relations expert Soli Ozel of the Turkish newspaper Haberturk said Ankara will be looking to France's new president to move the EU process along.

"I think basically to lift the blockage on the five articles [chapters], which he might do after the parliamentary elections are over, depending on the result that he gets. If France unblocks five articles, it at least opens up the system," said Ozel. "And I really don't think Hollande will go out of his way in order to humiliate the Turks. And I think Turkey has also recognized that it really can't afford basically to be cross with every other country whose behavior it does not like."


Supporters of Turkey's bid have been working hard to reinvigorate the process.

Turkey and the EU are to open talks aimed at bringing Turkey's membership bid back on track, and have launched an initiative to do so called "Positive Agenda."

"The so-called "Positive Agenda" on eight separate areas ranging from issues like energy and social policy, where the talks may not be open officially, but we are going to have European officials sitting down with Turkish officials doing the work," said Richard Howitt, a member of the European parliament's committee on Turkey, who has been helping the effort.


Global incentives improve

The global economy also may be providing a powerful stimulus to resuscitating Ankara's bid.

Diplomatic correspondent Semih Idiz for the Turkish newspaper Milliyet said both sides have powerful economic incentives to improve relations.

"The fact [is] that Turkey is [a] growing market and has new investment potential. So the reason for cooperating with Turkey is increasing - not necessarily with a view to achieving membership anytime soon, but keeping a positive process going."


Observers warn there still are many obstacles to Ankara's bid. But the climate appears to be more favorable. Turkish officials say President Abdullah Gul is expected to hold talks with Hollande during a NATO summit in Chicago, which begins on Sunday.

You May Like

Video Protests Continue in Ferguson, Spread to Other US Cities

Missouri officials say deployment of more than 2,000 National Guard soldiers helps curb second night of rampant arson and looting in Midwestern town More

Video Ebola, Crackdown on Illegals Hit Business in Guangzhou

Chinese city has largest community of Africans in Asia More

Video Legendary Lebanese Actress, Singer Sabah Dies at 87

Music and film diva, affectionately called 'Sabbouha' by millions of her fans, performed at Carnegie Hall in New York, Royal Albert Hall in London, Olympia in Paris, Sydney Opera House in Sydney More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Mik from: Helsinki
May 19, 2012 5:31 AM
Hollande has already said that he opposes Turkish membership of the EU and that he will continue to pursue criminalisation of (Armenian) Genocide denial. This story is just another attempt to weary the EU's resolve to uphold its standards on human rights and undermine the democratic wish of its citizens. Ultimately Turkey's membership bid will be rejected by democratic referenda in the major countries but it will keep on trying and trying (and playing victim) since that seems to be what is most important for it.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Changei
X
November 24, 2014 10:09 PM
Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Change

Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Mali Attempts to Shut Down Ebola Transmission Chain

Senegal and Nigeria were able to stop small Ebola outbreaks by closely monitoring those who had contact with the sick person and quickly isolating anyone with symptoms. Mali is now scrambling to do the same. VOA’s Anne Look reports from Mali on what the country is doing to shut down the chain of transmission.
Video

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Famine

During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests at a Crossroads

New public opinion polls in Hong Kong indicate declining support for pro-democracy demonstrations after weeks of street protests. VOA’s Bill Ide in Guangzhou and Pros Laput in Hong Kong spoke with protesters and observers about whether demonstrators have been too aggressive in pushing for change.
Video

Video US Immigration Relief Imminent for Mixed-Status Families

Tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants in the Washington, D.C., area may benefit from a controversial presidential order announced this week. It's not a path to citizenship, as some activists hoped. But it will allow more immigrants who arrived as children or who have citizen children, to avoid deportation and work legally. VOA's Victoria Macchi talks with one young man who benefited from an earlier presidential order, and whose parents may now benefit after years of living in fear.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid