EU Says Won't Open New Turkey Membership Chapters

EU says won't open new Turkey membership chapters

BRUSSELS, (UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News, app - 13th Dec, 2016 ) : The EU said Tuesday it would open no new areas in Turkey's membership talks in the "currently prevailing circumstances" because of concerns about its post-coup crackdown.

Austria however refused to sign the statement because it wants a complete freeze of Turkey's long-stalled accession process, including negotiations that are currently underway. "Under the currently prevailing circumstances, no new chapters are considered for opening," said the statement by the European Union presidency, which is currently held by Slovakia.

A "chapter" is a specific area of negotiations, whose issues range from human rights to economic cooperation. It comes despite a promise by Brussels in March to prepare to open new chapters in Turkey's long-stalled membership bid at an "accelerated pace" as part of a deal with Ankara to tackle the migration crisis.

The EU opened one new chapter in June, but this brings the tally to only 16 out of the 35 required for Muslim-majority Turkey to join the 28-nation bloc. Only one chapter has been completed. EU divisions were on show with Austria leading calls for the accession process to be halted altogether over the crackdown following the failed coup against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

After Austria refused to sign up to the statement, the Slovak presidency said it "notes the absence of a consensus" but that there was an "overwhelming majority" on the course of action.

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