Turkey’s EU Affairs Minister Volkan Bozkır has said that opening Chapter 17 on the economy, which is among the conditions for EU membership, along with any other progress in Turkey’s EU bid, is related to the settlement of the Cyprus issue.
“I preserve my belief in breaking new ground on the Cyprus issue. If the Cyprus dispute is solved, Chapter 17 [on the economy] will be available to be opened,” Bozkır said during his visit to Brussels on Friday. He added that a political solution to the Cyprus issue is much easier than a solution to the problems in Palestine, Ukraine and Syria.
“I hope important steps will be taken toward the solution of the 50-year-old dispute and that relief will be brought to Turkey’s EU bid,” Bozkır said. He also said that during the upcoming period of negotiations other hindrances to the settlement, such as proxies by other member countries involved in the dispute, will also be brought to light.
Bozkır is scheduled to meet with EU Commissioner for European Neighborhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations Johannes Hahn to discuss Turkey-EU relations and to introduce the updated version of the document on Chapter 17 that was first brought up seven years ago.
Ankara launched accession talks with the EU in 2005 but progress has been slow due to an ongoing dispute regarding Cyprus and opposition to Turkey’s membership from some member countries such as France and Germany.