15-04-2024 02:13 AM Jerusalem Timing

EU Opens New Chapter in Turkey Membership Talks

EU Opens New Chapter in Turkey Membership Talks

The EU opened a new negotiating chapter with Turkey on Thursday on its long-stalled bid for membership, a week after a British vote to leave the EU in which it was a major campaign issue.

The EU opened a new negotiating chapter with Turkey on Thursday on its long-stalled bid for membership, a week after a British vote to leave the EU in which it was a major campaign issue.

The decision is part of the European Union's migrant deal with Ankara in which it also agreed to boost aid to Turkey to cope with millions of refugees on its territory and to speed up visa liberalization.EU and Turkey flags

Turkey formally launched its membership bid and since then the EU has opened 15 chapters out of the 35 required to join the bloc, although it has only completed one.

Britain's bitterly-fought Brexit referendum saw 'Leave' campaigners jump on the Turkish membership issue to back their claim Turkey would be a massive source of migrants in the future.

"All EU member states have agreed to open this chapter" on finance and budgetary affairs, said Dutch Foreign Minister Bert Koenders after chairing a meeting with his Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu in Brussels.

"We stressed the importance of EU-Turkey relations, the EU and Turkey working together onissues including migration," Koenders said.

The decision was part of an EU agreement in March to speed up accession talks in return for Turkey helping to control the massive inflow of migrants, mostly fleeing Syria, which overwhelmed the bloc last year.

Koenders told reporters the talks had begun with a minute's silence in memory of the victims of the bomb attacks on Istanbul airport which left more than 40 dead, recalling a similar, ISIL-claimed atrocity in Brussels in March.