Turkey’s EU Minister Egemen Bagis has accused South Cyprus of blocking critical chapters for Turkey’s EU accession, at the same time welcoming the decision to open Chapter 22 which deals with regional policy and structural instruments.
The EU agreed this week to begin discussing regional policy with Turkey, the first talks in three years. That is one of dozens of chapters that would need to be settled before Turkey can join the union.
Bagis said that a number of countries are still blocking Turkey’s route to EU membership. He mentioned, in particular South Cyprus, which is blocking numerous chapters amid its dispute with Turkey over the status of the TRNC. He was, however, optimistic about new talks aimed at resolving the Cyprus problem but said that aiding Turkey’s progress could benefit both sides. Bagis cited the chapter on energy, noting that Turkey is a key transit country for energy supplies to Europe.
Speaking in an interview with The Associated Press, Bagis said that slow progress is producing doubts in Turkey about whether the European Union will ever offer membership. “Of course we are very, very frustrated and sometimes I question the sincerity of some of the European decision makers,” he said.
“One member state is hijacking the energy interests of 500 million Europeans just because they could,” he said. Despite frustration in Turkey, Bagis praised the European Union’s prescriptions for reform. He has often compared Brussels to a dietician. “The fact that the dietician itself is overweight or has a few clogged arteries or is even moody these days, doesn’t necessarily make the prescription bad,” he concluded.