Füle to hold renewed talks withTurkey over its EU bid

Stefan Füle, EU Enlargement Commissioner will be holding fresh talks with Turkey as it makes efforts to join the 28-nation bloc, a statement released today said amid ongoing concerns raised by Turkey’s human rights record, Turkish daily ‘Hurriyet’ reports.

Füle will meet senior officials June 16 and June 17, including the president and foreign minister, as well as the justice minister and head of Turkey’s constitutional court, the European Commission said. He will also take part in a meeting of the working group on Chapter 23 of Turkey’s EU membership bid, which covers the judiciary and fundamental rights. This group deals “with the necessary reforms in these two areas crucial for the accession process of Turkey,” it added.

Although Turkey began formal EU accession talks in 2005, it has made little progress, with Ankara angered by Brussels’ insistence on human rights protections and strong reservations from some member states against allowing in such a large Muslim country to join the EU. Negotiations resumed late last year following a three-year freeze but Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s handling of a graft scandal and mass anti-government protests are causes for further concern in the EU.

After yet another heavy police crackdown earlier this month, the EU warned the government that “any country negotiating EU accession needs to guarantee human rights, including freedom of assembly and association for its citizens.” An EU spokesman said it had not been possible to arrange a meeting between Füle and the prime minister because of scheduling problems.

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