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

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

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.
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