EU awaits new Turkish government to open Chapter 17
by Ali Ünal
ANKARAJul 16, 2015 - 12:00 am GMT+3
by Ali Ünal
Jul 16, 2015 12:00 am
While the interim prime minister and Justice and Development Party (AK Party) chairman, Ahmet Davutoğlu, continues his efforts to form a coalition government, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Luxemburg, Jean Asselborn, said on Wednesday that they are expecting the new Turkish government to open Chapter 17 on economic policy for negotiations.
Luxembourg is among the EU countries that support Turkey's EU bid and the country currently holds the presidency of the Council of European until end of this year. Speaking at the foreign affairs committee at European Parliament in Brussels, Asselborn said: "It is possible for Chapter 17 on economic policy to be opened soon. … We are expecting a new government to be formed soon in Turkey. We will pragmatically and constructively strengthen EU and Turkey relations."
Turkey was expecting Chapter 17 to be opened for negotiations in the first half of the year. Following the resumption of reunification talks on Cyprus, the EU enlargement commissioner, Johannes Hahn, met with EU Minister Volkan Bozkır and Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu at Brussels in May and said the EU could open the economy related Chapter 17 very soon to accelerate the accession process. "We have concluded our internal work and we will submit our report to the council, at the latest, in early June, and [I] hope we will get approval soon so we can start and open this chapter," Hahn said.
Turkey's accession talks stalled in 2013 when some countries in the EU, most notably Greek Cyprus and France, blocked Turkey's negotiation chapters. Speaking at France's Bastille Day celebration reception on Tuesday in Ankara, Bozkır pointed out that during French President François Hollande's term, France lifted the blockage on Chapter 22, which is on regional policy and coordination of structural instruments, and the chapter was opened for negotiations. "We expect that certain steps, which have been blocked for a while due to unilateral political reasons, will be taken," Bozkır said. He said that Turkey was still awaiting France lifting its blocking of Chapter 17 on economic and monetary policy.Turkey commenced negotiations with the EU in 2005 and so far out of 35 policy areas, 14 have been opened and 17 remain blocked, including those on economic and monetary policy and education and culture.