Turkey ready to open any EU chapter chosen by lottery: Minister
'Turkey is at a point where it can open all of the chapters,' Bokzır said in Davos. AA PhotoTurkish EU Minister Volkan Bozkır has laid down an assertive challenge to the union, suggesting that Ankara is ready to open any negotiation chapter with the 28-member bloc within two months of the chapter being chosen randomly by a lottery.
“Turkey is at a point where it can open all of the chapters,” Bozkır told state-run Anadolu Agency on Jan. 26.
“In my contacts with the EU commissioners, I have always voiced this particularity: Put the numbers of the all unopened chapters in a sack and draw. Whichever number is drawn at random, we are ready to open that chapter in two months,” he added, speaking at the World Economic Forum (WEF) held in Davos.
Since Turkey began accession negotiations in October 2005, it has opened only 14 of the 35 policy chapters, and only one of the open chapters has been provisionally closed.
“It is a problem for the EU that it has opened 14 chapters and closed one chapter. The EU has to assume the responsibility for opening chapters,” Bozkır said, adding that Chapter 17, which concerns the economy and monetary policies, could not be opened due to political blockages from within the EU.
Turkey became an associate of the bloc in the 1960s, but accession talks launched in 2005 became bogged down in a dispute over Greek Cyprus, which Ankara does not recognize as a state officially representing the entire divided island, as well as opposition from Paris and Berlin.
As a result of Turkey not having fully implemented the Additional Protocol to the Association Agreement, which requires it to open its seaports and airports to Greek Cypriot ships and planes, the EU decided in December 2006 that eight negotiation chapters could not be opened and that no chapter could be provisionally closed until Turkey meets its obligations.
Opening benchmarks for Chapter 23, on the judiciary and fundamental rights, and Chapter 24, on justice, freedom and security, have been on the EU’s agenda as part of Turkey’s membership bid, but the Greek Cypriot government’s veto has been impeding the process.