EU Boosts Turkey Accession Process

EU Boosts Turkey Accession ProcessEU Boosts Turkey Accession Process

Turkey and the EU have opened another avenue of negotiations regarding Turkey’s accession into the bloc.

Turkey’s long-stalled ambitions to join the European Union have been boosted by Europe’s desperation on issues like refugees.

“The opening of Chapter 17 is part of the reenergizing of Turkey’s accession process as agreed at the EU-Turkey summit in November, “ Luxembourg’s Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn said in a press conference on Monday. Luxembourg currently holds the EU’s rotating presidency.

Chapter 17 focuses on economic and monetary policy, with bolstering the independence of Turkey’s central bank a precondition to Monday’s move, DPA reported.

Monday’s meeting was opened after Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu and EU representatives signed a special agreement at a summit last month to discuss the refugees fleeing for Europe.

At the time, European countries pledged to provide Ankara with €3 billion ($3.2 billion) , reduced visa restrictions for Turkish visitors to the EU and other benefits, in exchange for coping with nearly two million Syrian refugees on its soil.

The refugees were mostly displaced by the self-styled Islamic State terrorists who are allegedly receiving covert Turkish support.

The talks were also to focus on the role of oil exports in financing the IS, after Russia accused Ankara of enabling the IS to smuggle oil.

Discussions on Turkey’s accession into the EU began in 2005. Since then, the process has all but stopped; only one of 35 chapters (Science & Research) has been successfully closed—eight are frozen indefinitely. Prior to Monday, no new chapter had been opened in two years.

Disagreements over Turkey’s rights’ record, its democratic credentials, and especially its troubled ties with EU-member Cyprus are among major impediments to EU accession.