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Community in Turkey
Community in Turkey
 

EU

EU-Turkey negotiations

Turkey launched its EU accession negotiations on 3 October 2005. The following overview highlights the key elements and stages of the process, which is expected to last at least a decade.

Background:

Having spent four decades in the EU's waiting room, Turkey finally opened its accession negotiations with Brussels on 3 October 2005. According to the mutually agreed negotiating framework, these negotiations are "an open-ended process, the outcome of which cannot be guaranteed". At the same time, analysts tend to point out that there has been no case in EU history where accession negotiations, once started, have not led to an offer of full membership.

Several analysts also recall that the term "negotiation" is slightly misleading, since, during the accession process, European law (ie the  acquis ) is to be adopted rather than negotiated. 

Outside the immediate framework of the accession negotiations, Turkey is expected by the EU to normalise its ties with all of its neighbours, primarily Greece, Cyprus and Armenia, before joining the Union. Ankara must also do its best to reconfigure European public opinion in its favour.

The talks are expected to last at least a decade.

Issues:

Organisations, negotiators

Economy Minister  Ali Babacan will work as Turkey's chief negotiator and will be responsible for the implementation of the accession process. Meanwhile, Ankara's negotiations team will be led by Foreign Minister  Abdullah Gul . 

No new department has been formed yet in Ankara for the process. According to Turkish politicians, this will happen only later during the negotiations. The prime minister has ordered the ministers to treat EU-related issues as priorities, which in practical terms means that all public institutions would be part of the country's accession efforts. Each of the country's affected ministries and institutions has appointed one person as its 'permanent contact point'. Babacan has described the structure of Ankara's negotiating team as "flexible and dynamic". 

The main bodies in charge of the negotiations will be: 

  • Secretariat-General for EU Affairs - Oguz Demiralp, Turkey's permanent representative to the EU in Brussels, replaces Ambassador Murat Sungar as head of the Secretariat-General for EU Affairs (EUSG, or ABGS in Turkish). Demiralp will be succeeded by Volkan Bozkurt as Turkey's EU ambassador. 
    • Directorate for Political Affairs (led by  Ambassador Ahmet Acet ) 
    • Directorate for Economic and Financial Affairs (led by  Deputy Secretary General Tunay Ince )
    • Directorate for Planning Affairs (led by  Deputy Secretary General Mustafa Dönmez )
    • Directorate for Commercial Affairs (led by  Deputy Secretary General Þükran Yazýcý ) 
  • Foreign Ministry's  EU affairs department
  • Under-secretariat of the Prime Minister's Office in charge of EU affairs 
  • State Planning Organisation (DPT)
  • Turkey's Permanent Representation in Brussels 

A Supervision and Orientation Committee has been set up for the negotiations. It includes

  • Oguz Demiralp, the secretary-general for EU affairs 
  • The Foreign Ministry's deputy undersecretary for EU affairs 
  • The deputy undersecretary of the Prime Minister's Office 
  • Turkey's permanent EU representative 

Non-governmental organizations (as well as universities, etc) will also be actively involved in the country's EU integration process, under the auspices of Turkey's  EU Communication Group (ABIG) . Among other events, "civil society summits" will be organised on a regular basis.

Turkey's accession process will rest on three pillars: 

  • Full implementation of the Copenhagen criteria and the deepening of political reforms 
    • Overseen by the Reform Follow-up Group (Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul, Chief Negotiator Ali Babacan, Justice Minister Cemil Cicek and Interior Minister Abdulkadir Aksu) 
  • Complying with the EU acquis (harmonisation of Turkey's rules and institutions with those of the EU
  • Civil society dialogue  
    • Overseen by the EU Communication Group. Journalist Ahmet Sever will be in charge of Turkey's communication efforts. 

Screening 

Before the start of negotiations, a screening would be carried out for each chapter. Since 2000, a process similar to screening has been carried out by Ankara and Brussels (in connection with the customs union), and thus in certain chapters rather fast progress is foreseen. The screening is to be conducted in two stages. During the first, so-called "analytical screening" stage, the Commission would explain its acquis to Turkey, while in the second - "detailed or bilateral screening" - stage it would be Ankara's turn to explain its laws. The screening process is scheduled to last for about a year. 

Meanwhile, once the Commission considers Turkey's compliance sufficient in a given chapter, it would propose the opening of the negotiations on that chapter. This means that the decision on when to start and conclude negotiations would be made for each chapter individually. The opening of membership negotiations would require ratification by all 25 EU member states. Each member state would have veto power on the opening and closing of the negotiations. 

If a chapter is declared to be 'temporarily closed', it means that the candidate country is found by the Commission to be below EU standards in that specific field. Once temporarily closed, a chapter can be re-opened for further negotiation at any time. 

The screening process kicked off in October 2005 (see table). 

Negotiations 

Under the  negotiating framework approved by the EU-25 - and also by Turkey - in early October 2005, the pace of the de facto negotiations will be determined by Turkey's progress in meeting the requirements for membership. The process will be regularly reviewed by the Council, based on the  Commission's progress reports . 

The Council will establish benchmarks for the opening and provisional closure of each chapter, and will communicate these benchmarks to Ankara. Turkey in turn will have to regularly report on its progress in meeting these benchmarks. 

According to paragraph 2 of the negotiating framework - which was subjected to hot debates at the October 2005 Council - "The shared objective of the negotiations is accession. These negotiations are an open-ended process, the outcome of which cannot be guaranteed beforehand. While having full regard to all Copenhagen criteria, including the absorption capacity of the Union, if Turkey is not in a position to assume in full all the obligations of membership it must be ensured that Turkey is fully anchored in the European structures through the strongest possible bond". 

Should Turkey "seriously and persistently" breach the "principles of liberty, democracy, respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms and the rule of law on which the Union is founded", the Commission (on its own initiative or on the request of one third of the member states) would be entitled to recommend the suspension of the negotiations and propose the conditions for their eventual resumption. The ultimate (qualified majority) decision would then rest with the Council, and the European Parliament will be informed. 

The negotiating framework says that "Long transitional periods, derogations, specific arrangements or permanent safeguard clauses, ie clauses which are permanently available as a basis for safeguard measures, may be considered. The Commission will include these, as appropriate, in its proposals in areas such as freedom of movement of persons, structural policies or agriculture. Furthermore, the decision-taking process regarding the eventual establishment of freedom of movement of persons should allow for a maximum role of individual member states. Transitional arrangements or safeguards should be reviewed regarding their impact on competition or the functioning of the internal market". 

Turkey has also undertaken to accept the results of any other accession negotiations between the EU and another candidate country as they stand at the moment of its own accession. 

Turkey's compliance with the acquis will be verified in 35 chapters (see table), and the progress of the negotiations will be measured against the following requirements: 

  • the Copenhagen criteria, which set down the following requirements for membership: 
    • the stability of institutions guaranteeing democracy, the rule of law, human rights and respect for and protection of minorities; 
    • the existence of a functioning market economy and the capacity to cope with competitive pressure and market forces within the Union 
    • the ability to take on the obligations of membership, including adherence to the aims of political, economic and monetary union and the administrative capacity to effectively apply and implement the acquis; 
  • Turkey's unequivocal commitment to good neighbourly relations and its undertaking to resolve any outstanding border disputes in conformity with the principle of peaceful settlement of disputes in accordance with the United Nations Charter, including if necessary jurisdiction of the International Court of Justice; 
  • Turkey's continued support for efforts to achieve a comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus problem within the UN framework and in line with the principles on which the Union is founded, including steps to contribute to a favourable climate for a comprehensive settlement, and progress in the normalisation of bilateral relations between Turkey and all EU Member States, including the Republic of Cyprus. 
  • the fulfilment of Turkey's obligations under the Association Agreement and its Additional Protocol extending the Association Agreement to all new EU Member States, in particular those pertaining to the EU-Turkey customs union, as well as the implementation of the Accession Partnership, as regularly revised. 

The substance of negotiations will be conducted in an Intergovernmental Conference with the participation of all member states on the one hand and [Turkey] on the other.

Under the terms of the negotiating framework, Turkey's accession negotiations "can only be concluded after the establishment of the Financial Framework for the period from 2014 together with possible consequential financial reforms". 

The table below is the  preliminary indicative list of chapter headings (the order does not indicate the sequence in which the subjects will be dealt with):

Chapter Screening status Negotiation status
1. Free movement of goods
2. Freedom of movement of workers
3. Right of establishment and freedom to provide services Opens end 2005
4. Free movement of capital Opens end 2005
5. Public procurement Opens end 2005
6. Company law
7. Intellectual property law
8. Competition policy Opens end 2005
9. Financial services
10. Information society and media
11. Agriculture and rural development Opens end 2005
12. Food safety, veterinary and phytosanitary policy
13. Fisheries
14. Transport policy
15. Energy
16. Taxation
17. Economic and monetary policy
18. Statistics
19. Social policy and employment (incl. anti-discrimination and equal opportunities for women and men)
20. Enterprise and industrial policy
21. Trans-European networks
22. Regional policy and co-ordination of structural instruments
23. Judiciary and fundamental rights
24. Justice, freedom and security
25. Science and research Opens 20 Oct 2005
26. Education and culture Opens 26 Oct 2005
27. Environment
28. Consumer and health protection
29. Customs union
30. External relations
31. Foreign, security and defence policy
32. Financial control
33. Financial and budgetary provisions
34. Institutions
35. Other issues



Latest & next steps:

  • After 3 October : The Commission has launched a 'screening process' aimed at taking stock of Turkey's progress in harmonising its laws with those of the Union. The screening is conducted in all the areas defined by the 35 chapters of the negotiating framework. The process may take ten to eleven months to complete.
  • 9 November 2005: The Commission is scheduled to issue its next annual progress report on Turkey. The report is expected to include critical paragraphs on the country's human rights situation and the justice system, and also to pinpoint the Armenian and the Kurdish issues alongside the still unresolved conflict in Cyprus.
  • 1 January 2006: The EU's rotating Presidency will be taken over by Austria. Vienna has been the single most vocal opponent of Turkey's EU membership ambitions.
  • Mid-2006: The conclusion of the screening process will mark the opening of negotiations on the individual chapters. First up will be the least controversial chapters, such as those on culture and education.

Source

German

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