Turkey’s EU membership talks deadlocked, FM Davutoğlu says April 20, 2011Posted by Yilan in EU, European Union, Turkey.
Tags: Davutoğlu, EU, Turkey
Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu. AA photo.
Turkey’s EU bid is at risk of grinding to a halt amid rows with Cyprus and strong objections to its membership by Germany and France, Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu told reporters Wednesday following a key meeting.
“The negotiation process [with the EU] is at a bottleneck despite all the efforts. The problem is not the technical process, but the political blockages,” Davutoğlu said, adding that Turkey and the European Union had serious disagreements in their respective positions.
The minister made his remarks after Tuesday’s meeting of the EU-Turkey Association Council in Brussels. Davutoğlu told a joint press conference with Romanian Foreign Minister Teodor Baconschi that the problems were discussed transparently in the meeting and that there was no tension in the talks, counter to media reports.
Ankara has demanded the EU make a strategic consideration on three issues in order to overcome hurdles before Turkey’s membership, Davutoğlu said.
Addressing the ongoing Cyprus issue, which some EU members have been using to block the opening of negotiation chapters, Davutoğlu said the ongoing impasse with the EU was due to the political obstacles. “The Cyprus dispute has been considered and blocked unilaterally,” he said, adding that the parties were still working to open the competition chapter in the talks.
“We hope it will be opened during the term of the Hungarian presidency. We are not pessimistic,” Davutoğlu said, though he added that the opening of the chapter would not eliminate the hurdles.
Turkey has opened no new policy chapter recently in its negotiations with the EU in the longest period of diplomatic drought since the accession talks started in 2005. “There are differences between the EU and us on the possible steps to be taken in order to open the competition chapter,” an official from the Turkish Foreign Ministry told the Hürriyet Daily News & Economic Review on Wednesday.
Criticizing the EU’s strict visa requirements for Turkish nationals, Davutoğlu criticized the bloc for failing to authorize the launching of negotiations over a visa-free travel regime for Turkish citizens, despite Turkey’s progress in meeting the EU’s conditions for starting such talks.
Ministers of EU member states have rejected the European Commission’s request for a mandate to start visa-free regime talks with Turkey, blocking the dialogue with Ankara.
The Foreign Ministry official also said there had been no progress in the EU’s proposal to broaden dialogue between Ankara and Brussels over foreign-policy issues.
“The strategic dialogue on foreign policy has yet to be established, since some EU members have been putting obstacles before launching a foreign-policy dialogue with Turkey,” the official said.
Speaking at the joint press conference with Davutoğlu, the Romanian foreign minister expressed his country’s support for Turkey’s EU bid. “Turkey joining the EU will bolster the position of the [EU], increasing its importance as a global actor,” Baconschi said.
Both Turkey and Romania will focus on energy and transportation projects in the coming years, particularly the Nabucco pipeline project, Davutoğlu said. He added that plans for strategic cooperation were expected to be finalized during a high-level visit to Romania after the June elections in Turkey.
Baconschi said Romania expected Turkish companies to invest in Romania’s infrastructure and energy industry.
Davutoğlu was set to meet his Latvian counterpart, Girts Valdis Kristovkis, on Wednesday after the Daily News went press.