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Spanish Foreign Minister Moratinos urges Turkey to meet EU commitments to help open negotiating chapters
2010-05-14 13:11:05

Brussels, May 11– The Spanish Presidency expressed interest in opening new chapters in EU accession negotiations with Turkey, said Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos, who chaired the EU-Turkey Association Council on Monday, May 10 in Brussels, pointing out that Ankara must also make “the relevant efforts.”

“The Spanish Presidency believes that we must continue the negotiation process with determination and move towards the opening of new chapters,” Moratinos said at a press conference after the meeting in which he reiterated that Spain will continue efforts to ensure compliance with the commitment to the full integration of Turkey into the EU.

Foreign Minister Moratinos said he could not specify how many chapters he expects to open during the Spanish term, which ends June 30, but he assured that internal efforts are being made in the EU and that the Presidency is doing “additional work in those chapters that have more political elements.”

The commissioner of Enlargement and Neighborhood Policy, Stefan Fule, noted in the same press conference that there are opportunities to open the competition and food security chapters this year, but that he would also like to start work in the chapters of energy and education.

Asked by a Turkish journalist about the EU regulation on direct trade between the occupied areas and EU member states, Minister Moratinos said that the discussion is being held at the level of the European Parliament and when it is brought before the Council, they will decide.

The Government of Cyprus considers the basis on which the direct trade regulation is founded to be legally unjustified and wrong, since it would mean trade with the areas of the Republic of Cyprus where the Government of the Republic of Cyprus does not exercise effective control.

In his remarks after the meeting, the Turkish Foreign Minister, Ahmet Davutoglu, said his country is “determined to continue with wide-ranging reforms…Perhaps this is one of the broader reforms in the history of Turkey, and we will continue working to implement democratic standards” in accordance with acquis communautaire.

Both Minister Moratinos and his Turkish colleague insisted that the goal of negotiations is full membership; while the Turkish Minister called on EU countries to not let unrelated “political issues” intervene in this process.

Turkey has so far refused to comply with its EU obligations, notably to open its ports and airports to Cypriot flagged and interest vessels and aircraft. Ankara does not recognize the Republic of Cyprus, which has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded and occupied the island's northern third.

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