Talks aimed at allowing Turkey to join the European Union are underway in Brussels. Negotiations began on two key issues relating to freedom of movement of capital and media reform. The mood was positive although the European Commissioner for Enlargement insisted Turkey still needed to make progress towards the reform of the labour sector and improve workers’ rights.
There are 25 more chapters, or conditions, to be hammered out before accession can be agreed. There remains much to do before full membership can be achieved. The French, in particular, need assurances. “I remind you that I just indicated that the conditions were not accomplished today for the entrance of Turkey to the EU. It is word for word what I said, neither more nor less,” said French Secretary of State for European Affairs Bruno Le Maire. But there is hope for Turkey’s place in Europe in the future. The nation is eager to join and if the stumbling block of the Cyprus issue can be resolved, an eventual agreement is on the cards. Ali Babacan, the Turkish Foreign Minister said: “We believe it should be everyone’s objective to find a lasting comprehensive solution as a whole. And there is a major responsibility that falls on the EU in this respect.” Turkey has been urging the EU to usher Greek Cypriots towards a reunification deal for the divided island, warning that a window of opportunity could close if there is no quick progress. In September leaders of the two communities resumed talks to end the 1974 partition. But they are currently at odds over oil exploration.