Chapter 33 of Turkey's EU accession process to be opened on Thursday

Published 28.06.2016 11:37
Updated 28.06.2016 19:16
emArchive photo/em
Archive photo

Chapter 33 of Turkey's European Union accession process, which covers economic and financial provisions, will be opened on Thursday.

Turkey's ambassador to the EU, Selim Yenel, told Turkey's state-run Anadolu Agency (AA) on Tuesday that the opening of Chapter 33 was significant since it is usually opened close to a country's membership, thus contributing to "keeping the accession process alive".

"A total of 16 chapters will have been opened after Chapter 33 opens this week," Yenel said, adding that there were still five chapters being blocked by the Greek Cypriot Administration.

"If there is progress on the Cyprus issue, and a final resolution is reached, then these [five] chapters will be able to be promptly opened and membership negotiations will be back to their normal pace," he said.

Yenel also said that Turkish and EU officials would hold an intergovernmental conference on the opening of Chapter 33 on Thursday, with Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, Finance Minister Naci Ağbal and EU Minister Ömer Çelik attending.

In addition to Chapter 33, Çavuşoğlu and Çelik will also be discussing five key criteria for visa-free European access, Yenel said.

"They will meet with the first vice-president of the European Commission, Frans Timmermans, after the intergovernmental conference in order to discuss the remaining five benchmarks. They will establish a roadmap in this regard. Our goal is to ensure visa liberalization at the earliest," Yenel said.

The eastern Mediterranean island of Cyprus was divided into a Turkish Cypriot state in the north and a Greek Cypriot administration in the south after a 1974 military coup on the island was followed by the intervention of Turkey as a guarantor power.

Reunification talks between the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot communities on the island resumed in May 2015, after having been stalled in October 2014 due to a dispute about gas exploration around the island.

The talks between Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus President Mustafa Akıncı and Greek Cypriot administration's leader Nicos Anastasiades were last suspended in late May.

Anastasiades had canceled a meeting with Akıncı after refusing to attend a dinner hosted by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan during the World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul, upon being told that the Turkish Cypriot leader had also been invited.

He thus cut short his trip to Istanbul. Anastasiades also canceled a meeting set with Special UN Cyprus Envoy Espen Barth Eide.

The interrupted peace talks resumed on June 8.

However, the Greek Cypriot administration is still blocking chapters of law that need to be opened to allow Turkey to join the EU.

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