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 EU stats talks with Turkey

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Registration date : 2007-01-11

PostSubject: EU stats talks with Turkey   Thu Mar 29, 2007 4:59 am

The European Union will partially re-start accession talks with Turkey on Thursday, the first such talks since negotiations were largely frozen last year.

EU, Turkey flags in Istanbul
Turkey's accession talks stalled over Cyprus last year

EU ambassadors agreed the move on Wednesday.

Last December, the EU suspended negotiations on eight out of 35 "chapters" or policy areas.

For the first time in months, Turkey's bid to join the EU has taken a step forward, albeit a small one.

Negotiators from the two sides will hold talks in Brussels on enterprise and industry, one of more than 20 policy areas still open for discussion.

Only one chapter out of 35 was fully completed before the EU decided to freeze talks on eight other areas, in effect putting Turkey's application on hold.

Behind the scenes

Public opinion in the EU was already cooling on the prospect of Turkish membership and the suspension soured the mood in Turkey as well.

The sticking point was Turkey's refusal to open its ports and airports to traffic from the Greek part of Cyprus, which is already a member of the EU.

For its part, Turkey was insisting that the EU must end the economic isolation of Turkish-controlled northern Cyprus. The island has been divided since the war between the two sides in 1974.

Despite the freeze agreed by EU foreign ministers last year, work on the open chapters has been continuing behind the scenes. But these are the first formal negotiations.

An EU official, speaking on condition of anonymity, told the BBC the EU hoped to start talks on three more chapters by the end of June.
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