CURRENT SITUATION IN TURKEYS ACCESSION NEGOTIATIONS
Even though thirteen chapters have been opened in association with Turkey’s EU accession negotiations, only one chapter, Science and Research (Chapter 25) has been provisionally closed. All candidate countries which negotiate with the EU open each chapter provided that they fulfill the opening criteria specifically determined for each chapter by the EU Council and provisionally close each chapter provided that they fulfill the closing criteria determined by the EU Council. When negotiations have been closed in all chapters, membership negotiations are assumed to be completed. Afterwards, the Accession Treaty is signed between the EU and the candidate state. Prior to membership, the Accession Treaty has to be approved by the European Parliament, and has to be ratified by each individual member state in addition to the candidate state concerned
The Chapter Opened to Negotiation and Provisionally Closed
· Chapter 25: Science and Research – 12 June 2006
Chapters Opened to Negotiations
Currently there are fourteen chapters which are opened to negotiations including Science and Research. The chapters opened are listed below in accordance with their opening dates:
- Chapter 20: Business and Industrial Policy – 29 March 2007
- Chapter 18: Statistics – 26 June 2007
- Chapter 32: Financial Control – 26 June 2007
- Chapter 21: Trans-European Networks – 19 December 2007
- Chapter 28: Consumer and Health Protection – 19 December 2007
- Chapter 6: Company Law – 17 June 2008
- Chapter 7: Intellectual Property Law – 17 June 2008
- Chapter 4: Free Movement Capital – 19 December 2008
- Chapter 10: Information Society and Media – 19 December 2008
- Chapter 16: Taxation – 30 June 2009
- Chapter 27: Environment – 21 December 2009
- Chapter 12: Food Safety, Veterinary and Phytosanitary Policy – 30 June 2010
- Chapter 22: Regional Policy and Coordination of Structural Instruments - 5 Novermber 2013
“Regional Policy and Coordination of Structural Instruments”, which was opened on 5 November 2013 has been the last chapter opened in Turkey’s accession negotiations.
However, the political obstacles prevent not only other chapters being opened to negotiation but also chapters which are already open to negotiations, to be provisionally closed.
The Science and Research chapter, which contains relatively less EU acquis, was opened to negotiations on the 12th of June 2006 and closed provisionally on the same day. Afterwards the decision made by the General Affairs and External Relations Council on the 11th of December 2006 has precluded other chapters to be closed temporarily.
The EU General Affairs and External Relations Council’s decision is closely correlated with both the declaration issued by Turkey at the time of signing of the Additional Protocol to the Ankara Agreement (pertaining to the expansion of the customs union to include new members) and the counter declaration issued by the EU in succession. After the Greek Cypriot Administration of Southern Cyprus’ (GASC) unilateral accession to the EU as the sole representative of the island in 2004, the situation has complicated Turkey’s relations with the EU and the EU has requested that Turkey change its policy on Cyprus through the opening of its ports and airports to vessels and aircrafts coming from “The Republic of Cyprus”, as recognized by the EU. This situation, which has been perceived as a restriction to transportation, has been assumed to hinder the functioning of the Customs Union and Turkey has been requested to apply the Customs Union to all the new members of the EU including the GASC in a non-discriminative manner.
Two texts are significant in bringing about the EU’s decision on not to open 8 acquis chapters to negotiation and not to close any chapters provisionally. The first is the declaration issued by Turkey while it was in the process of signing the Additional Protocol of the Association Agreement with the EEC; –the second one is the EU declaration in response to this. Those two declarations have made evident the mutual discontent harbored by Turkey and the European Union.
Turkey’s Declaration dated July 29, 2005
In the process of signing the Additional Protocol (intended as an expansion on the existing accession agreements of candidate states) of the Ankara Agreement, Turkey’s declaration, dated 29th of July 2005, is given below.
1. Turkey remains committed to finding a political settlement of the Cyprus issue and has clearly demonstrated its resolve in this regard. Accordingly, Turkey will continue to support the efforts of the UN Secretary-General towards achieving a comprehensive settlement which will lead to the establishment of a new bi-zonal partnership State. A just and lasting settlement would greatly contribute to peace, stability and harmonious relations in the region.
2 The Republic of Cyprus referred to in the Protocol is not the original partnership State established in 1960.
3. Turkey will thus continue to regard the Greek Cypriot authorities as exercising authority, control and jurisdiction only in the territory south of the buffer zone, as is currently the case, and as not representing the Turkish Cypriot people and will treat the acts performed by them accordingly.
4. Turkey declares that signature, ratification and implementation of this Protocol neither amount to any form of recognition of the Republic of Cyprus referred to in the Protocol; nor prejudice Turkey’s rights and obligations emanating from the Treaty of Guarantee, the Treaty of Alliance, and the Treaty of Establishment of 1960.
5. Turkey reaffirms that its existing relationship with the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus remains unchanged by becoming a party to the Protocol.
6. Pending a comprehensive settlement, the position of Turkey on Cyprus will remain unchanged. Turkey expresses its readiness to establish relations with the new partnership State which will emerge following a comprehensive settlement in Cyprus.
The Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs explains this situation on their website as follows:
“The Additional Protocol between Turkey and the EEC with a view to the Enlargement of the European Union” was signed on the 29th of July 2005 between then EU Presidency (the United Kingdom), the European Commission and our country through exchange of letters.
When member nations are mentioned in the introductory section of the Additional Protocol, the expression “Republic of Cyprus” is utilized. A declaration by us [the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs] has been made to make sure that the signature of the Additional Protocol, in other words the signature of a document which refers to the Greek Cypriot Administration of Southern Cyprus as the “Republic of Cyprus”, by Turkey rules out any interpretation that can result in the recognition of the GCASC.
The EU’s Counter Declaration dated September 21, 2005
The Council of the EU has published a counter declaration upon Turkey’s previously mentioned declaration concerning Cyprus. The EU’s counter declaration regarding Cyprus, which has been endorsed by the Committee of Permanent Representatives (COREPER), was approved on the 21st of September 2005 by the Council upon the member states’ failure to object to the text. As is known, Turkey signed the Additional Protocol extending the scope of the 1963 Ankara Agreement, which constitutes the legal basis of the relations between Turkey and the EU, to cover the 10 countries which became EU members on the 1st of May 2004, however has supplemented the text with a declaration stating that the signing of the Additional Protocol, which used the term “The Republic of Cyprus” when referring to the Greek Cypriot Administration of Southern Cyprus, did not imply a recognition of the Greek Cypriot Administration of Southern Cyprus by Turkey. Conversely, a declaration text which is given below was prepared by compromise and through long negotiations by the European Community and its member states:
The declaration below by the European Community and its Member States was adopted today, following the declaration made by Turkey upon signature on 29 July 2005 of the Ankara Agreement Protocol:
1. The European Community and its Member States acknowledge the signature by Turkey of the Additional Protocol to the Agreement establishing an Association between the European Community and its Member States on the one part and Turkey on the other, in accordance with the conclusions of the European Council of December 2004. They regret that Turkey felt it necessary to make a declaration regarding the Republic of Cyprus at the time of signature.
2. The European Community and its Member States make clear that this declaration by Turkey is unilateral, does not form part of the Protocol and has no legal effect on Turkey’s obligations under the Protocol.
3. The European Community and its Member States expect full, non-discriminatory implementation of the Additional Protocol, and the removal of all obstacles to the free movement of goods, including restrictions on means of transport. Turkey must apply the Protocol fully to all EU Member States. The EU will monitor this closely and evaluate full implementation in 2006. The European Community and its Member States stress that the opening of negotiations on the relevant chapters depends on Turkey’s implementation of its contractual obligations to all Member States. Failure to implement its obligations in full will affect the overall progress in the negotiations.
4. The European Community and its Member States recall that the Republic of Cyprus became a Member State of the European Union on 1st May 2004. They underline that they recognize only the Republic of Cyprus as a subject of international law.
5. Recognition of all Member States is a necessary component of the accession process. Accordingly, the EU underlines the importance it attaches to the normalization of relations between Turkey and all EU Member States, as soon as possible.
6. The Council will ensure a follow-up on the progress made on all these issues in 2006.
7. In the context of this declaration, the European Community and its Member States agree on the importance of supporting the efforts of the UN Secretary General to bring about a comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus problem in line with relevant UNSCRs and the principles on which the EU is founded, and that a just and lasting settlement will contribute to peace, stability and harmonious relations in the region."
In accordance with the provisions suggested in the counter declaration, the relevant subject was discussed within the Council and resulted in sanctions being implemented on Turkey.
The EU General Affairs and External Relations Council’s 11 December 2006 dated Decision and the Chapters the opening of which have been blocked
According to the Council’s decision, Turkey must apply the Ankara Agreement to all countries which became EU members in 2004, including the Greek Cypriot Administration of Southern Cyprus. Consequently, Turkey is expected to open its ports and airports to the Greek Cypriot Administration of Southern Cyprus. It has been decided that eight chapters associated with the Customs Union are not to be opened and none of the chapters are to be provisionally closed until Turkey complies with this request. This situation has caused Turkey’s negotiation process to be blocked by political interferences.
The Council Decision reads as follows:
The Council recalls the declaration of the European Community and its Member States of 21 September 2005 and notes that Turkey has not fulfilled its obligation of full non-discriminatory implementation of the Additional Protocol to the Association Agreement.
The Council welcomes the Commission's recommendation of 29 November. In this context the Council agrees that the Member States within the Intergovernmental Conference will not decide on opening chapters covering policy areas relevant to Turkey's restrictions as regards “the Republic of Cyprus” until the Commission verifies that Turkey has fulfilled its commitments related to the Additional Protocol.
These chapters are:
- Chapter 1: Free Movement of Goods
- Chapter 3: Right of Establishment and Freedom to Provide Services
- Chapter 9: Financial Services
- Chapter 11: Agriculture and Rural Development
- Chapter 13: Fisheries
- Chapter 14: Transport Policy
- Chapter 29: Customs Union
- Chapter 30: External Relations
The Council agrees that the Member States within the Intergovernmental Conference will not decide on provisionally closing chapters until the Commission verifies that Turkey has fulfilled its commitments related to the Additional Protocol.
The Council will follow up and review progress made on the issues covered by the declaration of 21 September 2005. The Council invites the Commission to report on this in its forthcoming annual reports, in particular in 2007, 2008 and 2009, as appropriate.
Member States’ Intervention in the Council and the Chapters Prevented from Being Opened:
The suspension of the opening of these 8 chapters and the decision that none of the chapters could be provisionally closed are not the only obstacles in Turkey’s accession negotiations. The election of Nicholas Sarkozy as French President in 2007 and the GASC’s policy of intstrumentalising Turkey’s EU membership process as a means to get as much concessions from Turkey as possible regarding Cyprus have resulted in both of these member states’ unilateral vetoes at the Intergovernmental Conference where accession negotiations are conducted. On chapters that they feel should not be opened, these countries have prevented the Council from determining the opening criteria and have thus hindered the accession process. These Chapters are as follows:
The Chapters prevented from being opened by the Republic of France:
- Chapter 11: Agriculture and Rural Development (This chapter is also among the 8 chapters suspended by the Council in December 2006)
- Chapter 17: Economic and Monetary Policy
- Chapter 22: Regional Policy and Coordination of Structural Instruments
- Chapter 33: Financial and Budgetary Provisions
- Chapter 34: Institutions
The main reason behind the French veto to the opening of the above chapters is due to their directly being related to membership. French President Sarkozy stated that although France believes that the negotiations with Turkey should continue, they are in favor of a privileged partnership rather than a full membership, and thus believe that it is unnecessary that those chapters related to full membership should be opened. It is expected that with the election of the Socialist candidate François Hollande in June 2012 as President, France will change its position on unilaterally vetoing Turkey’s negotiation process.
The Council has reviewed its decision of 2006 on suspending the opening of the 8 negotiation chapters in 2009. GASC requested the imposition of additional sanctions on Turkey but this request was not deemed appropriate by other Member States. Consequently, GASC announced through a unilateral declaration that it would block the opening of 6 chapters. The chapters blocked by the Greek Cypriot Administration of Southern Cyprus are as follows:
- Chapter 2: Freedom of Movement for Workers
- Chapter15: Energy
- Chapter 23: Judiciary and Fundamental Rights
- Chapter 24: Justice, Freedom and Security
- Chapter 26: Education and Culture
- Chapter 31: Foreign, Security, and Defense Policy
There are three chapters which may be opened to negotiations provided that the requirements in the opening criteria are fulfilled. These chapters are as follows:
- Chapter 5: Public Procurement
- Chapter 8: Competition Policy
- Chapter 19: Social Policy and Employment
The “positive agenda” which was officially launched on 18 May 2012, aims to provide an impetus for Turkey’s EU membership process which has been which has been stagnant since 2010 due to none of the chapters being open to negotiation. However, the positive agenda will not be a substitute or an alternative for the negotiation process. On the contrary, it has aimed to achieve progress in the negotiation process which has grounded to a halt by providing a basis and preparatory period for both parties, which will contribute to the resumption of negotiations. In this context, a working group focusing on Turkey’s alignment to Chapter 23 (Judiciary and Fundamental Rights) and Chapter 24 (Justice, Freedom and Security), which are blocked by the GASC, has been established.
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