'I welcome Turkey's EU accession as long as conditions are met,' says Stephen Weil, Germany's Prime Minister of Lower Saxony
ANKARA - German politician Stephen Weil has voiced support for Turkey's EU accession to the 28-member bloc in the Turkish capital Ankara on Monday.
"I welcome Turkey's EU accession as long as the conditions are met," said Stephen Weil, Germany's Prime Minister of Lower Saxony during his meeting with Turkey's Minister for EU Affairs and Chief Negotiator Mevlut Cavusoglu.
Weil urged the opening of Chapters 23 and 24 on "judiciary and fundamental rights" and "justice, freedom and security" respectively for which Turkey has been criticized.
The chapters form the basis of accession negotiations for each country to the EU. They focus on areas which require reforms in order to meet the accession conditions.
"There are concerns about Turkey's EU membership and the best way to ease these concerns is to open Chapter 23 and 24 and negotiate them in a friendly, open and clear way," he said.
Referring to the blocked chapters, due in part to the ongoing dispute over the divided island of Cyprus between Turkish and Greek Cypriot sides since 1974, Weil said Germany needs to take a clear position to accelerate Turkey's EU entry process.
Turkey began negotiations with the EU in 2005 and the country must comply with all 35 chapters to become a member. So far, only 14 negotiation chapters have been opened while 16 remain blocked.
Weil also expressed support for dual citizenship for the Turkish community living in Germany and called for further steps to be taken.
Meanwhile, Cavusoglu reiterated his call for sincerity from the EU saying "the political blockage on Turkey's EU talks needs lifting."
"If both sides do their full share of work, we will make progress and speed up negotiations...Sincere dialogue established recently between the two sides must be supported by concrete steps," he added.
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