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Turkey-EU negotiations at bottleneck: Turkish FM April 22, 2011

Posted by Yilan in Turkey.
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There are serious problems between the general positions of Turkey and the European Union, Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said on Wednesday.Speaking at a joint press conference with his visiting Romanian counterpart Teodor Baconschi in the Turkish capital of Ankara, Davutoglu said the problems were discussed transparently in Tuesday’s EU-Turkey Association Council meeting in Brussel and Ankara requested the EU to make a strategic consideration on three issues.

“The negotiation process [with the EU] is at bottleneck despite all the efforts,” he said.

Citing the Cyprus dispute, which Turkey faces difficulty moving ahead through her EU bid since Ankara did not open her ports to Greek Cypriots, Davutoglu said that the problem in EU negotiations was not with the technical process, but with the political blockages “which should not be laid in front of Turkey.”

Davutoglu also criticized EU’s strict visa policy on Turkish nationals as “legally baseless and unfair.” He complained that the EU has yet to authorize the launching of negotiations over a visa- free travel regime for Turkish citizens, although Ankara had made successful progress in what EU demanded in return for the starting the visa exemption talks.

For his part, Baconschi gave support to Turkey’s EU bid, saying “Turkey is a stable friend in both the EU and NATO. Turkey joining the EU will brace the position of the Union increasing its importance as a global actor.”

Turkey’s formal membership talks began in 2005, but the process is under threat of grinding to a halt amid rows with Cyprus and strong objections to its membership by Germany and France. Since June 2010, Turkey has opened no new policy chapter in the negotiations with the EU, the longest period of diplomatic drought since the accession talks started.

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