Germany to Drop Opposition to EU Talks with Turkey

Written by | Monday, October 21st, 2013

Germany is reported to drop its opposition to opening a new chapter of talks with EU membership candidate Turkey that Berlin raised in June after Ankara’s crackdown on a wave of anti-government protests in Istanbul and other cities across the country earlier this year.
While stressing the excessive use of force by Turkish police to quell the unrest, an annual progress report on aspiring EU members published recently by the European Commission recommended breathing new life into Ankara’s bid. EU governments are expected to consider the Commission’s report at a meeting on October 22 and debate whether to start talks on a new policy area or chapter. The EU could formally decide to launch the new round of talks with Turkey in early November.
The EU launched the negotiations on the Turkey’s accession in 2005 – 18 years after applying – but there has been a number of political obstacles, notably over Cyprus and resistance to Turkish membership in Germany and France, that have slowed progress. EU governments postponed plans to open the talks on regional policy in June – as a rebuke for Ankara’s handling of the popular protests that swept Turkish cities after police used teargas and water cannon to disperse a sit-in against the redevelopment of a part in the center of Istanbul.
On a related development, Turkish government has rejected EU criticism of its handling of the anti-government protests. However, it also praised the report on its progress towards joining the bloc because it showed Turkey had come closer to European economic and democratic standards. In the words of EU Affairs Minister Egemen Bagis, “We are pleased that this year’s progress report emphasizes the important reforms Turkey has realized.”

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