Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Friday, November 24th, 2017

Merkel Does Not See EU Expanding Membership Talks with Turkey

Merkel Does Not See EU Expanding Membership Talks with Turkey

BERLIN - German Chancellor Angela Merkel does not expect the European Union to open negotiations on new policy areas with Turkey in its talks to join the bloc, her spokesman said on Wednesday.
Membership talks have progressed only slowly since they began in 2005 but Merkel has said the EU, which needs Turkey to help tackle the migrant crisis, must engage with Ankara despite concern about its response to a failed coup in July.
Bild newspaper ran a story under a headline that said Merkel opposed further EU talks with the fellow NATO member and reported that this meant discussions were effectively over.
However, government spokesman Steffen Seibert made clear there was no new stance.
"Chancellor Merkel's position on the accession talks has not changed," he told reporters when asked about the article.
"The EU and Turkey have been negotiating for years without determining the result in advance. Under the current circumstances, the opening of further negotiating chapters is not conceivable."
Neither Ankara nor the EU expect Turkey to be in a position to join the EU for many years to come. Only one of 35 "chapters", or policy areas where Turkey must adopt EU rules, has so far been concluded. Discussions have begun on 15 more chapters while the rest have not yet been taken up.
The European Parliament passed a non-binding motion last week urging the Commission and national governments to call a temporary halt to membership talks with Turkey due to Ankara's "disproportionate" response to July's failed coup. (Reuters)