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Iran Press TV

No new chapters on Turkey's accession bid: EU

Iran Press TV

Tue Dec 13, 2016 6:47PM

The European Union says it will not take up further policy areas - also called "chapters" - needed for Turkey's membership of the bloc due to concerns over the Ankara government's crackdown following an abortive military coup in July.

"Under the currently prevailing circumstances, no new chapters are considered for opening," the presidency of the Council of the EU said in a statement released on Tuesday.

The EU has opened 16 out of the 35 chapters required for Turkey to join the 28-nation bloc, but only one of them has so far been concluded.

Expediting accession talks are part of a deal struck between Turkey and the EU in March to limit the flow of refugees to Europe.

Under the agreement, Turkey vowed to back rejected asylum seekers and patrol borders. In return, Brussels pledged financial aid, visa-free travel for Turkish nationals and progress in Turkey's long-stalled EU membership talks. The bloc also promised to open new chapters in Turkey's membership bid at an "accelerated pace."

On Monday, however, Austria demanded a freeze on Turkey's accession talks, with Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz saying "it is wrong to continue accession negotiations as if nothing negative has happened in Turkey."

In a relevant development on Tuesday, EU leaders met in Brussels to discuss issues concerning Turkey.

Slovak Foreign Minister Miroslav Lajcak, whose country holds the rotating EU presidency, said ministers were seeking to close the gap on Turkey during the talks.

"The positions are quite diverse. So the goal for today would be to find a common platform to arrive at a compromise," he said.

In November, Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) approved a motion urging the European Commission and member states' governments to halt Turkey's EU membership negotiations in response to Ankara's post-coup purge.

In response to the non-binding vote, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan reacted threatened to open his country's gates for refugees to stream into Europe.



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