EU membership 'strategic target' for Turkey

Turkey-EU relations are 'multidimensional and longstanding,' says Fuat Oktay

EU membership 'strategic target' for Turkey

Turkey regards membership in the European Union as a strategic foreign policy target, the country’s vice president said Tuesday.

During his budget speech in parliament, Fuat Oktay said Turkey-EU relations were "multidimensional and longstanding".

Oktay noted that the number of chapters opened until now in Turkey’s accession process with the EU is 16. There are currently blockages on 14 chapters due to reasons related to the Greek Cypriot administration, which illegally became a member of the EU in 2004 under the EU’s enlargement policy.

Turkey applied for EU membership in 1987, while accession talks began in 2005.

Talks between Turkey and the EU stalled in 2007 due to objections by the Greek Cypriot administration over the divided island of Cyprus as well as opposition from Germany and France.

Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when a Greek Cypriot coup was followed by violence against the island's Turks and Ankara's intervention as a guarantor power.

The status of the island remains unresolved in spite of a series of discussions that resumed in May 2015.