Turkey to open new chapter of EU accession process

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Ankara, June 28 (IANS) Turkey will open a new chapter of EU accession talks on Thursday, which covers financial and budgetary provisions, the country’s ambassador to the European Union Selim Yenel said on Tuesday.

The new chapter, or Chapter 33, is significant since it is usually opened when a country’s membership is on the horizon, Xinhua quoted Yenel as saying.

But he said five chapters were still being blocked by the Greek Cypriot Administration.

“If there is progress on the Cyprus issue, and a final resolution is reached, then these (five) chapters will be able to be promptly opened and membership negotiations will be back to their normal pace,” the ambassador said.

Talks on Turkey’s EU membership date back to 1963, when Ankara and Brussels drafted an association agreement aiming toward the accession of Turkey into the European Economic Community, the predecessor to the EU.

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However, Turkey has since made little progress in its bid to join the bloc, despite a flurry of early reforms.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan warned on Wednesday that Ankara might hold a referendum on its bid for EU membership, unless there is progress in negotiations.

“We will go and ask the public whether we should continue negotiations with the EU,” Erdogan said.



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