Turkey-EU relations see hope with 'positive agenda'

The “positive agenda” foresees joint progress by the EU Commission and Turkey on the chapters -- policy areas in which EU candidates must open talks -- that have been blocked

Turkey-EU relations see hope with 'positive agenda'

 World Bulletin/News Desk

The commencement of the first talks of the EU Commission-launched “positive agenda” plan, a framework for bringing new momentum to Turkey's stalled EU accession process, has added to hopes of Turkey's entering the EU, along with other positive developments during the week.

The start of the talks, which commenced in Ankara on Thursday, were marked by a press conference organized in the EU Ministry in Ankara, where State Minister and Turkey's Chief EU Negotiator Egemen Bağış and EU Enlargement Commissioner Stefan Füle held a briefing on the new dialogue process.

The “positive agenda” foresees joint progress by the EU Commission and Turkey on the chapters -- policy areas in which EU candidates must open talks -- that have been blocked. Seventeen chapters have been blocked by the EU Council either due to the Cyprus dispute or EU member country opposition. The new agenda will promote dialogue on how Turkey can make progress in these chapters without affecting their status as blocked.

Meanwhile, European Commission Vice President Siim Kallas said in a press conference on Wednesday that Turkish-European Union relations would stay on track during the Greek Cypriot presidency, which will begin on July 1.

He also added that a good railway system would play an important role in the relations between the EU and Turkey. “Our relations will improve with good railway connections,” said Kallas.

On Tuesday, German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle told Turkey not to let its European Union membership bid stall due to the Cyprus problem, saying the accession negotiations should not be suspended during the upcoming Greek Cypriot presidency of the 27-nation bloc. “We should be rational, not emotional. We should not miss our goal,” Westerwelle told a conference in İstanbul.

His remarks come as hopes increase for new momentum in Turkey's EU membership bid in the wake of presidential elections in France. Former President Nicolas Sarkozy, a staunch opponent of Turkey's EU membership, lost the race for re-election to his Socialist rival, François Hollande, who is known to have a more favorable view of Turkey's EU membership.

In a related development, a report recently released by the Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research (SETA) indicates that Turkey is likely to become the most important foreign policy partner of the European Union in the coming years.

The report, titled “Europe's Perception of Turkish Foreign Policy,” also points out that Turkey's Middle East politics is not regarded as an obstacle in its relations with the EU.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 20 Mayıs 2012, 17:20

Muhammed Öylek

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