‘More honest’ to scrap Turkey membership talks: EU official

‘More honest’ to scrap Turkey membership talks: EU official

BERLIN - The Associated Press
‘More honest’ to scrap Turkey membership talks: EU official

The official overseeing the European Union’s future enlargement has said that, in the long term, it would be “more honest” for the bloc to give up talks on membership for Turkey.

EU Enlargement Commissioner Johannes Hahn was quoted Nov. 6 as telling German daily Die Welt: “I think that, in the long term, it would be more honest for Turkey and the EU to go down new roads and end the accession talks.”

Hahn added that “Turkish membership in the European Union is not realistic in the foreseeable future.” He argued that sticking to the talks has “blocked the path to a realistic, strategic partnership.”

Turkey applied for EU membership in 1987 and accession talks began in 2005.

However, negotiations stalled in 2007 due to the objections of the Greek Cypriot administration on the divided island of Cyprus, as well as opposition from Germany and France.

To gain membership, Turkey has to successfully conclude negotiations on 35 policy chapters that involve reforms and the adoption of European standards, as well as a chapter on judiciary and fundamental rights and a chapter on justice, freedom and security.

As of May 2016, 16 chapters had been opened and one concluded. However, in December 2016, the member states said no new chapters will be opened.

Since then, the country has held many negotiations with the bloc officials, insisting that Turkey wants to open Chapter 23 on the judiciary and fundamental rights and Chapter 24 on justice, freedom and security.

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan last month vowed continued efforts to expand rights and freedoms and to improve democracy in the country amid Turkey’s efforts to mend ties with the European Union and European countries.

“We will continue to work on expanding rights and freedoms, as well as improving democracy, although some people have made a habit of distorting the reality,” Erdoğan said in a speech he delivered in Istanbul on Oct. 21.

Turkey, European Union, EU enlargement