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EU to open fresh round of Turkey membership talks


brussels bureau

EU to open fresh round of Turkey membership talks

The EU has postponed the opening of fresh membership talks with Turkey until October.

Talks had been due to resume on Wednesday, but Germany blocked the move amid concerns over Ankara’s handling of the recent anti-government protests.

German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle said:
“Amongst all the understandable reactions that we have seen, we feel we cannot lose sight of the fact that we have long-term strategic interests.”

Turkey opened EU membership negotiations with Brussels in 2005. But the process has stalled over the past three years due to a dispute with bloc member Cyprus and concerns about human rights.

Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu welcomed the decision by the EU.

“What is important in that such a decision is taken and that we had the confirmation that the chapter is open – and that there is no way to reverse it,” he said.

Meanwhile, Turkish police have arrested at least 20 people in the capital Ankara. They are accused of attacking police during the recent unrest.

Turkish state media said those detained had links with terrorist groups.

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EU delays Turkey talks