EU to hold fresh talks with Turkey on membership bid
BRUSSELS - Agence France-Presse
Stefan Füle will meet senior officials June 16 and June 17, including the president and foreign minister, as well as the justice minister and head of Turkey's constitutional court. AFP PhotoEU Enlargement Commissioner Stefan Füle is to hold fresh talks in Turkey on its efforts to join the 28-nation bloc, a statement said June 15, amid continued concerns over Ankara's rights record.
Füle will meet senior officials June 16 and June 17, including the president and foreign minister, as well as the justice minister and head of Turkey's constitutional court, the European Commission said.
Füle will also take part in a meeting of the working group on Chapter 23 of Turkey's EU membership bid, which covers the judiciary and fundamental rights.
This group deals "with the necessary reforms in these two areas crucial for the accession process of Turkey," it added.
Turkey began formal EU accession talks in 2005 but they made little progress, with Ankara angered by Brussels' insistance on human rights protections and strong reservations in some member states against allowing in such a large Muslim country.
Negotiations resumed late last year following a three-year freeze but Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's handling of a graft scandal and mass anti-government protests has raised fresh concerns in the EU.
After a sharp police crackdown earlier this month, the EU warned the government that "any country negotiating EU accession needs to guarantee human rights, including freedom of assembly and association for its citizens." An EU spokesman said it had not been possible to arrange a meeting between Füle and the prime minister because of scheduling problems.