World Bulletin / News Desk
Once the Cyprus issue is resolved, once the reunification of Cyprus happens, all 14 EU chapters blocked due to the Cyprus issue will be unblocked and Turkey will have a great opportunity to move ahead in the EU membership process, said Turkish Minister for EU Affairs and Chief Negotiator Egemen Bagis during his meeting with European Parliament Rapporteur Ria Ooman-Ruijten on Tuesday in Ankara.
The island has been divided into Greek and Turkish sides since a Greek Cypriot coup was followed by a Turkish peace mission to aid Turkish Cypriots in the north in 1974.
Turkey will open chapter 22, which regulates regional policies, on November 5 in Brussels after three years.
No new chapters were opened in the past three years, mostly due to the Cyprus issue, and blocks by former French President Nicolas Sarkozy, who opposed Turkey's EU membership.
"November 5 is a turning point in Turkish-EU relations. Because for the first time after a three year gap, we will be opening a new chapter," Bagis said.
Reminding of the European Union’s annual progress report on Turkey which was released on October 16, Bagis said it was objective and neutral and called on parties to open chapters 23 and 24.
"Everyone knows that Turkey is ready and willing to open both of those two chapters... We will continue to take reform steps to make living in this country better and opening chapters would only motivate us further," Bagis said.
Meanwhile Ruijten stressed the importance of the reforms Turkey needs to undertake as Turkey would be a more modern and prosperous country after reforming its society.
"Turkey should have an independent and impartial justice, and the rights of individuals and collective rights should not only be laid down in the legislation, but also in the minds of people. It should be the absolute commitment of Turkey to go in the same direction as the EU," she said.
Stating that there was a slow down in Turkey's reforms, Ruijten said she also observed other problems in Turkey including freedom of press.
When asked whether a new term would really start between the EU and Turkey after November 5 with the opening of a new chapter, Ruijten said, "We are giving a new start to the negotiations It is a new stage in the negotiation process and what is more important for Turkey to work on the Copenhagen criteria judiciary, individual rights, press and media freedom."
Last Mod: 30 Ekim 2013, 17:11