Ankara wants to open more chapters with EU

Ankara wants to open more chapters with EU

Ankara wants to open more chapters with EU

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Turkey aims to open more chapters in its accession process to the European Union and finalize the process as soon as possible, Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu has said a day after the EU decided to open its first chapter in more than two years. 

“Our aim is to open more chapters, including the 23rd and 24th chapters that hold great importance, in the coming months; close the opened chapters with the developments to be reached on the Cyprus issue, and thus complete Turkey-EU integration and the accession process,” Davutoğlu said Dec. 15 in the Bulgarian capital Sofia during a press conference with Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borissov. 

The opening of Chapter 17 on Dec. 14, one of 35 in the EU’s membership talks, marks not just the first formal discussions since 2013 but what many in Brussels see as a fresh start for EU-Turkey ties after years of uneasy relations, according to Turkish and European officials.

The bloc and Ankara accelerated the accession process after signing a deal to stem the flow of refugees from Turkey to the EU with an agreement late November, with Davutoğlu saying relations between the two parties have progressed “a great deal” since the summit in Brussels. 

“Following the last EU-Turkey summit, relations with the EU have accelerated a great deal. A new chapter has been opened after nearly four years,” Davutoğlu said.

Davutoğlu said that EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker had sent him a letter, where Juncker noted the will to not only open the 17th chapter, which covers the EU’s economic and monetary policies, but other chapters as well. 

“The new momentum that the Turkey-EU relations have gained provides us a new environment,” said Davutoğlu. “Together we will make this climate worthy.” 

Davutoğlu also thanked the states that have been involved in and contributed to the new momentum. 
Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Mehmet Şimşek, in Brussels for the opening of a new accession chapter with the EU on Dec. 14, said he expected quick progress on bringing Ankara in line with the EU’s economic and monetary policy, in regards to the newly opened chapter. 

“Turkey does not have major shortcomings regarding this chapter,” Şimşek, who is also in charge of the economy in the new Turkish government, told a news conference, as quoted by Reuters.