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EUROPE > France to assist Turkey in opening EU chapter

PARIS – Anatolia News Agency

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A ministerial meeting during an international conference on Libya, which includes French Foreign Affairs Minister Laurent Fabius and his Libyan counterpart Mohamed Abdelaziz take place at the Quai d'Orsay foreign affairs ministry in Paris, France, 12 February 2013. EPA photo

A ministerial meeting during an international conference on Libya, which includes French Foreign Affairs Minister Laurent Fabius and his Libyan counterpart Mohamed Abdelaziz take place at the Quai d'Orsay foreign affairs ministry in Paris, France, 12 February 2013. EPA photo

France announced on Feb. 12 that it would assist Turkey in opening one of the five chapters once blocked by Paris for Ankara’s long-stalled EU membership talks.

After meeting with Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said they would assist Turkey with opening Article 22, entitled “Regional Policy and Coordination of Structural Instruments.” 

“France will extend support to Turkey’s EU membership negotiations. We have told Turkish officials that we will assist them in opening chapter 22 to negotiations. We also had a chance to speak on technical issues. We have reached a consensus on consolidation of friendly relations with Turkey,” Fabius told reporters in Paris. 

An international conference on Libya took place in the French capital with the participation of the foreign ministers of 14 countries, including Turkey. Five chapters were unilaterally blocked by France during former President Nicolas Sarkozy’s rule, but following the election of François Hollande last year, Paris softened its position on Turkey’s accession process.

Asked about French President Hollande’s visit to Turkey, Fabius said that such a visit was discussed but that no exact date had been set for the visit yet.

Davutoğlu confirmed France’s assistance over opening the chapter. “We have received strong message that France will lift its blockade [on one EU chapter]. We also discussed how Turkey’s membership will contribute to the EU regarding the developments in the Mediterranean dimension. I can say that an important hurdle in Turkey-EU relations will be cleared,” he said in Ankara.

Meanwhile, Turkey's Minister of EU Affairs Egemen Bağis said the chapter regarding regional policies in Turkey's EU membership process would be opened to negotiations during Ireland's EU presidency, which started Jan. 1 and will continue until June 30. “We had good news today. The new French government has decided not to continue with the same hurdles of the previous government,” he said during an official visit to London. 

Turkish PM tones down criticisms toward EU

ANKARA

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan took a break from his harsh rhetoric toward the European Union during a Feb. 11 dinner with the bloc’s envoys to reiterate that Ankara was committed to joining the 27-member union.

Erdoğan was “constructive” despite his recent bold remarks against EU leaders, sources from the bloc told the Hürriyet Daily News. During the gathering, he informed the ambassadors about the understanding which had shaped his recent statements on the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO). Turkey wants to become a dialogue partner with the SCO due to its “360 degree” perspective on foreign policy, Erdoğan said.

The premier on Jan. 25 suggested that Turkey could abandon its EU quest due to hostility from several members in favor of membership in the SCO, whose two most prominent members are Russia and China. He said Turkey was continuing to take the necessary steps to achieve EU membership but added that it was now the bloc’s turn to act.


February/12/2013

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READER COMMENTS

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Brit in Turkey

2/13/2013 6:14:16 PM

I think the best of all worlds would be for Turkey to continue with modernisation for the EU accession process, as mara says, but as the EU countries would never vote for Turkey's entry after all that Turkey should say "thanks, but no thanks".

mara mcglothin

2/13/2013 5:23:13 PM

DOGAN Turkey is the job applicant, NOT the employer. It is not Turkey who needs to put their cards on the table. Hasn't the AKP had 8 years to get this ball rolling and what have they done? Clearly the best policy would be to complete all requirements and then come to the table and say okay, now what? Turkey would at least become more democratic in the process regardless of membership.

Chris Green

2/13/2013 3:56:01 PM

Big deal! Given that Austria, Greece, south Cyprus, Bulgaria (perhaps) and certainly the French themselves, are determined to vote against Turkeys entry to the EU this is an empty gesture and should be dismissed as such.

Vargen Vargen

2/13/2013 2:11:52 PM

suat yildirim You say that France is the last country we can trust? That is wrong. The list is much longer: Greece, Cyprus, Italy, Germany, Holland, UK, Canada, US, Denmark, Israel, Sweden, Belgium and probably a few more. Due to the foreign policies of Davatoglu, the only friend we have is Azerbayan and the only Union we can join is one with countries infamous for extreme violations of the basic human rights such as Russia and China and a couple of "Borat countries" with names ending with -stan

suat yildirim

2/13/2013 11:48:51 AM

France will be the last country that we can trust. Most of the so celled big EU country's wont want to see strong Turkey in their door step.We must kept them in arms length. Their greatness is in history books. It is time now remind them that TURKS is coming.

sam stevens

2/13/2013 11:28:36 AM

Don't you just hate the deception of diplomacy ?

Joe B

2/13/2013 11:04:34 AM

Chapter 22 may seem like a small initial gesture but is very important for EU's cohesion policy - to ensure an even development in all regions of EU and its memberstates. In that sense it is also an aid to the Kurds in the South East when Turkey fulfills the requirements in this chapter. Is it enough to create a win-win this spring? Difficult to say. If South Cyprus continues being intent on Turkey never joining, then nothing helps.

cezer "çapulcu" skonore

2/13/2013 5:35:43 AM

The current EU cannot bring anything new to Turkey.

Dutchman

2/13/2013 1:20:29 AM

@ Tekion Particle They are probably just up to improving bilateral relations and investment, as relations have been very strained so far. This is probably not really about EU membership, it is at best symbolic.

dogan kemal ileri

2/12/2013 7:24:27 PM

Sarkozy vetoed all 5 chapters in one go but now Hollande wants to drip feed them back. This is pure procrastination which will benefit the EU and not Turkiye. Davutoglu why don't you tell them to put their cards on the table once and for all and give them a plain deadline to do so.
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