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EU/Turkey: Ankara calls on EU member states to unblock membership talks 31 août 2011

Posted by Acturca in Religion, Turkey-EU / Turquie-UE.
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Europolitics, Wednesday 31 August 2011

By Joanna Sopinska

Irritated by the prolonged impasse in its EU accession talks, Turkey has called on the member states to unlock the process. The appeal came following the entry into force of the decree amending Law No 5737 on foundations in Turkey. « It is time for the EU and member states to question the status quo in the accession process of Turkey, » said Egemen Bagis, the country’s minister for European Union affairs and chief negotiator in a statement, on 29 August. « This recent measure taken by the Turkish government at a time when the accession negotiations with the European Union have ground to a halt indicates Turkey’s determination to improve democracy and extend rights and freedoms for all citizens of this country regardless of their faith and ethnicity, » he argued.

The European Union has for a long time criticised Ankara for maintaining a law that discriminates in particular against religious foundations. The amendment, which entered into force on 27 August, has brought Turkish legislation in line with EU standards, according to Bagis. Under the new legislation, immovable properties, cemeteries and fountains that were claimed in the 1936 proclamation by community foundations but had not been registered to foundations will be returned to their rightful owners, provided that an application is made within 12 months.

Due to the protracted stalemate in Cyprus’ unification talks, EU-Turkey accession negotiations have been stalled for over a year. In fact, only three areas are currently free from any political hurdles: competition, public procurement and social policy and employment. The remaining 14 chapters are blocked due to Turkey’s failure to normalise its relations with Cyprus. Another four have been put on ice by France over political reservations.

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