EU silent on chapter readiness

EU silent on chapter readiness

Emine Kart ANKARA
EU silent on chapter readiness

Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu (C) is seen with EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton (R) and US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in Istanbul in this June photo. ‘At the moment, we have all [EU] chapters ready,’ says Turkish PM Erdoğan. AP photo

While Ankara says that it is ready to open and close all 35 European Union membership negotiation chapters, the union has kept silent declining to give a direct response on the issue.

“Currently, we have only three chapters where opening depends exclusively on Turkey’s efforts to meet the relevant benchmarks and which can be potentially opened for negotiation. The chapters on ‘public procurement,’ ‘competition policy’ and ‘social policy and employment’ can be opened once all conditions are met,” officials from the European External Action Service at the Delegation of the European Union to Turkey recently told the Hürriyet Daily News.

Last month Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan claimed all 35 chapters, under which the EU Acquis Communitaire is categorized, have been readied in the country’s efforts to become a full member of the European Union. The completion of these chapters is mandatory for all EU membership candidates.

The EU has left us in the trenches, Turkish PM says

“The EU is implementing an opening and closing procedure for the chapters, although this is not an implementation imposed by the Acquis Communitaire,” Erdoğan said July 25. He said the EU has dropped the ball in handling Turkey’s EU membership application.

“They annulled closing and only allowed the opening [of the chapters]. Here in this situation too, they have been leaving us in the trenches. Everything is plain to see, you talk and they have no answers. They are not able to respond to us and they are also not able to defend themselves. But they do say that ‘they [Turkey] let it slide.’ My brother, why would we not let it slide?” Erdoğan said. Earlier this month EU officials failed to respond to questions from the Daily News regarding such opening and closing procedures and their status.

“At the moment, we have all chapters ready. From the beginning we have made our institutionalization according to [these chapters],” Erdoğan said in the same interview. The prime minister joked that Turkey might withdraw its EU bid if it is accepted by the Shanghai Five. “I said to Russian President Vladimir Putin, ‘You tease us saying “What [is Turkey] doing in the EU?”

Now I tease you: include us in the Shanghai Five, and we will forget about the EU,’” Erdoğan said, while speaking about a recent visit to Moscow. The Shanghai Five group was created April 26, 1996, in Shanghai by the heads of state of Kazakhstan, the People’s Republic of China, Kyrgyzstan, Russia and Tajikistan. Turkey’s EU accession talks have recently been stalled as the rotating EU presidency was transferred to Greek Cyprus in July 2012.