Germany gives green light to open new chapter in Turkey's EU bid
ANKARA - Hürriyet
German Chancellor Angela Merkel's reticence to engage in a new step forward during the government’s crackdown on the Gezi Park protests between May and July had delayed the opening of the new chapter. AP photoGermany has given the green light for the opening of the 22nd chapter in the EU accession negotiations, daily Hürriyet reported Oct. 20.
The formal launch of talks regarding the chapter on regional policy, which was delayed until after the release of the 2013 EU progress report due to Berlin’s reticence to engage in a new step forward during the government’s crackdown on the Gezi Park protests between May and July, will mark a first in the last two and a half years.
The 22nd chapter is expected to be opened during the current Lithuanian presidency in the coming weeks. According to daily Hürriyet, the German Chancellor Angela Merkel, whose Christian Democratic Union (CDU) in the meantime won the parliamentary elections last month and is in coalition talks, considered the latest democratization package unveiled by Ankara as a “positive” sign.
The report says Merkel gave “green light” to her Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle for giving Germany’s approval to the opening of the chapter during the EU foreign ministers meeting on Oct. 21 and 22.
Westerwelle also wants to “make a gesture” as he will be stepping down from his tenure after his Free Democrats (FDP) failed to enter Parliament during the Sept. 22 elections, the report added.
Following the release of the progress report on Oct. 16, both Turkey’s EU Minister Egemen Bağış and EU Commissioner for Enlargement Stefan Füle emphasized the necessity for the negotiations to “regain momentum” by opening further chapters, especially those related to the judiciary.