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Turkey may soon come in from the cold in terms of its EU bid as its biggest skeptic, France, vows to lift blocks on its accession chapters

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FM Davutoğlu is seen with his French counterpart Fabius in this July 2012 photo. AP Photo

FM Davutoğlu is seen with his French counterpart Fabius in this July 2012 photo. AP Photo

France is expected to submit new proposals to accelerate Turkey’s accession talks with the union as Paris sends strong signals that it is prepared to lift its block on at least one accession chapter during Ireland’s current bloc term presidency.

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius is expected to make the statement during a meeting with Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu this weekend in Munich, where both men will attend an annual security conference, diplomatic sources told the Hürriyet Daily News yesterday. “Fabius will voice new proposals and will provide information on Paris’ intention to lift its block on the chapter on economic and monetary policy,” a source speaking on condition of anonymity said.

Five chapters were unilaterally blocked by France during former President Nicholas Sarkozy’s rule. But following the election of François Hollande last year, Paris softened its position on Turkey’s accession process.

Amid the new thaw, expectations are growing that the process will act as a catalyst for Turkey’s accession talks with the union.

Reviving long-stalled EU accession talks will top the ministers’ agenda, and the pair are expected to discuss a road map that would aid their cooperation to this end.

Elections in Greek Cyprus could also create a better climate between Turkey and the EU, according to sources. However, European diplomats have questioned Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s recent statements that Turkey could join the Shanghai Cooperation Organization if the EU drags its feet on Turkish membership.

Paris to explain Mali


Davutoğlu and Fabius are also expected to discuss the developments in Mali. France launched a heavy military campaign against fundamentalist groups in northern Mali after the central government demanded help from France on Jan. 10. Turkey was among the opponents of the French offensive and publicly expressed its unease with the move. Fabius wanted to meet Davutoğlu in Davos but the two could only communicate through a phone call by the Turkish minister late Jan. 26.

According to sources, Fabius told Davutoğlu that French troops launched the operation following an official Malian request that armed fundamentalist groups were advancing toward the capital, Bamoko.

The French plan is to stop the militant groups and to protect the territorial integrity of Mali, sources said, adding that it would completely withdraw from the country after a political agreement is reached through political consultations.

Fabius also asked for Turkish help to this end but did not receive a concrete answer form Davutoğlu, sources said. The two ministers will further discuss ongoing developments in Syria and the international community’s failure to establish a strong and common front against the government of President Bashar al-Assad.

January/31/2013

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READER COMMENTS

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Dutchman

1/31/2013 11:44:49 PM

The EU is trying to buy even more time, and so is Turkey. The EU needs the time because it does not dare to tell Turkey the truth that is will not join the EU, and Turkey needs the time to re-orient itself in its region. However, this whole show is a matter of time, and those who believe it is not will be proven wrong soon.

cezer "çapulcu" skonore

1/31/2013 7:31:27 PM

Tracy Lockett: I agree with you in your assessment of backward trend of Britain. I and my wife live in US and visit UK ones in one or two years for business/fun. Every time we go we face a new difficulty along with old ones. Things and services are expensive, and getting more expensive every time we visit, without any added value. I think people working in the service industry are not making a decent living wage because they act like they are from a different planet. Maybe, blame it on the EU.

cezer "çapulcu" skonore

1/31/2013 7:03:33 PM

The EU is keeping Turkey's bid just alive, so that Turkey cannot enter EU but stays close. Currently, EU is listing to starboard approx. 5 degrees. If it gets worst in the future, Turkey can be used as a flotation device because Turkish people are made of cork, they never sink (I read this metaphoric expression in 1980's in a Turkish newspaper opinion column, I liked it.)

Brit in Turkey

1/31/2013 6:37:50 PM

sam stevens: They have to fill the financial hole if the UK leaves, so why not get Turkey to fill it?

Roger Harding

1/31/2013 6:26:49 PM

Turkey, Withdraw application to join EU. Build a strong, democratic and properous Turkey. Build great relationships with EU, Russia, ME, USA, China, Africa you name it. Take away the leverage France, Austria or Greek Cyprus has over Turkey by playing the EU card endlessly. Turkey does not belong to EU, ME or Asia. Turkey belongs to Turkey. Make sure Turkish defense has the edge at all times. So that, nobody will dare any adventures. Turkey can gain peace and prosperity without EU.

Philpot

1/31/2013 5:59:07 PM

I guess none of you know how many EU millions of euros are currently pouring into Turkey. For example there is currently a scheme to help start-up businesses funded by the EU and GIVING 30,000TL per new business. I personally believe that Turkey should not join the EU, but it would be nice if the same human rights could be enjoyed in this glorious country.

Optimist 23

1/31/2013 3:00:06 PM

Hopefully Erdogan addresses the Kurdish Issue and finds a solution to it, equally important are the human rights issues: unlimited detentions, Journalists jailed en masse. Without serious progress there, no real progress will be made at the EU level. These issues give too many countries reluctance to make significant steps.

Tracy Lockett

1/31/2013 12:29:25 PM

I would be happy to see an end to the EU full stop and all borders re-instated! Where will the EU borders end? Why do so many countries want to get into the EU? It's certainly not helped the UK. Life in the UK is going backwards and not forwards so let's get things back to 'normal'!

Faruk Beisser

1/31/2013 10:19:17 AM

What naivity on part of the French asking an islamist gov't help another them in thefighting against islamists!

dogan kemal ileri

1/31/2013 9:12:07 AM

So France can veto 5 chapters of the accession to the EU but only reinstate them one at a time.The headline France vows to rekindle Turkey’s frozen EU bid is a joke mais non?
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