Turkey’s EU accession talks restart with economic policy

Turkish ministers arrive in Brussels for EU accession talks which will restart with opening of Chapter 17 on economic policy

Photo by: AA
Photo by: AA

Deputy Prime Minister of Turkey Mehmet Simsek and Minister of European Union Affairs Volkan Bozkir inform the media during a press conference in Brussels, Belgium on December 14, 2015

The opening of the economy chapter on Turkey’s accession into the European Union is a "crucial moment" for the country’s future membership in the 28-nation bloc, according to Turkish officials.

Turkey’s Deputy Prime Minister who is responsible for the country’s economy, Mehmet Simsek, EU minister Volkan Bozkir and Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu are in Brussels on Monday for the opening of Chapter 17 on economic policy.

"We are experiencing a crucial moment," Bozkir said at a joint press conference with Simsek in Brussels.

"We have a very comprehensive reform program; these are all reforms that will positively influence [Turkey’s accession] process with the EU," Simsek said.

"I believe the revitalization of the accession process will have a positive reflection on strong investments in Turkey," Simsek said.

Chapter 17 aims at bringing Turkey in line with the EU’s economic and monetary policy, as part of the country’s plan to join the 28-nation bloc. The chapter includes compliance with the Copenhagen criteria -- a full and freely functioning market economy.

"Turkey does not have major shortcomings regarding this chapter," Simsek said.  

Out of 35 chapters, which must be completed in order for the country to join the 28-nation bloc, only 13 have been opened.

The Cyprus issue remains a major obstacle to Turkey’s EU accession plans, as several chapters, including chapter 15 on energy, are blocked by the Greek Cypriot administration.