In the hopes of freeing up the blockage on Turkey's EU Accession campaign, Turkish EU Affairs Minister Egemen Bagis and EU Enlargement Commissioner Stefan Fule have put their collective weight behind a new "positive agenda" to put the negotiations back on track.
"This is a special day in our relations," EU Enlargement Commissioner Stefan Fule told a joint news conference with Turkey's EU Affairs Minister Egemen Bagis in Ankara.
"This positive agenda should bring fresh dynamics and new momentum in our relations," said Fule. "Our aim is to keep the accession process alive and put it properly back on track after a period of stagnation which has been a source of frustration on both sides."
Turkey's accession negotiations began formally in 2005 but of the 35 chapters that must be successfully negotiated on in order to join the EU, Turkey has opened just 13 in 7 years and closed just 1.
Last October in an annual progress report the EC put forward a new timetable in the hopes of getting a dissolutioned Turkey back on board the accession train. Under the new agenda Turkey and the EC will set up 8 working groups, each one working on a single chapter on which the EC will offer support and guidance on bringing Turkey in line with the EU requirements allowing them to close on the chapters.
The new move "is not to replace but to complement and support the accession process of Turkey," said Fule. However, Turkey still refuses to recognise EU member Cyprus let alone open its sea and air ports to the country, both of which remain the major hurdles to its accession.