GeriGündem Turkey slams EU for dragging its feet in accession negotiations
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Turkey slams EU for dragging its feet in accession negotiations

Turkey slams EU for dragging its feet in accession negotiations
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Turkish officials have accused the European Union of dragging its feet on Turkey's membership bid and "breaking" its motivation. (UPDATED)

Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan Tuesday complained of the pace at which negotiations are being opened on the 35 policy areas that candidates must complete, and asked the EU be fair towards Turkey during its accession talks.

His remarks followed criticism from the Turkish foreign minister on the pace of the accession process.

The process of opening and closing chapters in membership negotiations with the EU was prolonged unnecessarily, Erdogan said during a fast breaking dinner hosted Tuesday in Ankara in honor of foreign ambassadors and heads of foreign missions in Turkey.

"The number of chapter headings were fewer before. Before we even entered this process, opening and closing of chapters was not even an issue. Chapters were opened and closed. But now we are struggling for this," he was quoted by Anatolian Agency as saying.

He said this was not a fair approach, adding Turkey expected the EU to adopt the same approach it did with other candidates.

The EU opened the negotiations on two chapters of "company law" and "intellectual property law" in June in the accession talks, which began in 2005.

Although the opening of two new chapters signals progress in membership negotiations, 15 of 35 chapters remain suspended. The EU had suspended eight chapters in December 2006 due to Turkey's refusal to open its ports to Greek Cypriot vessels before the Union ends its isolation of Turkish Cypriots.

Erdogan also said Turkey was not asking for privileges.

"We say: we want you to give us the same rights you granted to others (candidates) before us. If you are seeing us as a burden --then that's a different story-- then say so. But you should know that Turkey is coming to relieve you of your burden, not to be a cause of burden. You should view Turkey like this," he said.

"However, we see that the EU is not as fast as Turkey in regards with negotiation chapters," said Erdogan, adding the EU made a habit of opening only two chapters at a time, thus slowing down the process.

Erdogan said despite Turkey's determined attitude in its EU bid, the EU continued to issue dismaying statements and display demoralizing attitudes.

He said nevertheless Turkey announced its own program to harmonize with EU acquis and continued to implement reforms as scheduled.


Turkish Foreign Minister Ali Babacan also criticized Monday the slow pace of the country’s EU process.

The EU has started to make it a tradition that it opens two chapters in each term, Babacan said ahead of the Turkey-EU Troika meeting in Brussels.


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