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 Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the US are seeing gas prices dip below $3 a gallon More

Afghan Women's Soccer Team Building for the Future

A four-team female league was recently set up in Kabul; It will help identify players for the national team More

Video Koreas on Edge Amid Live-fire Drills

Pyongyang threatens nuclear test as joint US, S. Korean exercises show forces’ capabilities 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.
New Skateboard Defies Gravityi
X
November 21, 2014 5:07 AM
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 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 Gay Evangelicals Argue That Bible Does Not Condemn Homosexuality

More than 30 U.S. states now recognize same-sex marriages, and an increasing number of mainline American churches are blessing them. But evangelical church members- which account for around 30 percent of the U.S. adult population - believe the Bible unequivocally condemns homosexuality. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender evangelicals are coming out. Backed by a prominent evangelical scholar, they argue that the traditional reading of the bible is wrong.
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 Mexico Protests Escalate Over Disappearances

Protests in Mexico over 43 students missing since September continue to escalate, reflecting growing anger among Mexicans about a political system they view as corrupt, and increasingly tainted by the drug trade. Mounting outrage over the disappearances is now focused on the government of President Enrique Pena Nieto, accused of not doing enough to end insecurity in the country. More from VOA's Victoria Macchi.
Video

Video US Senate Votes Down Controversial Oil Pipeline - For Now

The U.S. Senate has rejected construction of a controversial pipeline to transport Canadian oil to American refineries. The $5 billion project still could be approved next year, but it faces a possible veto by President Barack Obama. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the pipeline has exposed deep divisions in Congress about America’s energy future.
Video

Video Can Minsk Cease-fire Agreement Hold?

Growing tensions between government troops and separatists in eastern Ukraine further threaten a cease-fire agreement reached two months ago in the Belarusian capital of Minsk. Critics of U.S. policy in Ukraine say it is time the Obama administration gives up on that much-violated cease-fire and moves toward a new deal with Russia. VOA's Scott Stearns has more.
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.
Video

Video Ferguson Church Grapples with Race Relations

Many white residents of Ferguson, Missouri, say they chose to live there because of the American Midwest community's diversity. So, they were shocked when a white police officer killed an unarmed black teenager in August – and shaken by the resulting protests and violence. Some local churches are leading conversations on how to go forward. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid