EU to reopen membership talks with Turkey-reforms encouraged

22 October 2013 11:54
(QHA) -

The European Union is to reopen membership talks with Turkey, more than three years after freezing negotiations, in an attempt to boost the prospects for democratic reforms amid fears that the country is taking an authoritarian lurch under its prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, The Guardian reports.

EU foreign ministers will formally decide on Tuesday to resume negotiations in two weeks' time, senior diplomats said, following a U-turn by Germany, which, until last month's election, favoured shelving the talks.

As reported, Germany is generally opposed to Turkey joining the EU, along with France and several others. The last obstacle to re-engaging with Turkey was overcome on Monday at the meeting of foreign ministers in Luxembourg when the Dutch shifted position.

Relations between the EU and Turkey have sunk to new lows in recent months, with aides to Erdogan arguing that Europe was in terminal decline and falling apart, while Turkey was on the rise as a key regional and economic power.

The talks on fundamental rights and the judiciary had to be opened "as soon as possible to make it clear that if Turkey is moving towards Europe, it has to undertake reforms in these areas so that human rights are observed", said Michael Spindelegger, the Austrian foreign minister.