EU Commission hopes Turkey will remain ‘committed partner’ on key issues

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European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker waits for the arrival of EU leaders ahead of an informal EU summit on migration at the EU commission in Brussels on June 24, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / POOL AND AFP PHOTO / YVES HERMAN

The European Commission said on Monday it hoped Turkey would “remain a committed partner” after an election that gave President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan sweeping new executive powers, the Hürriyet Daily News reported.

With virtually all votes counted, Erdoğan garnered 53 percent of the vote in the presidential race, while in the parliamentary polls his Justice and Development Party (AKP) took 42.5 percent and its ally the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) secured 11 percent, exceeding expectations.

“We hope that under President Erdoğan’s leadership Turkey will remain a committed partner for the European Union on major issues of common interest such as migration, security, regional stability and the fight against terrorism,” a spokesman for the European Commission told a press briefing.

Turkey applied for EU membership in 1987, and accession talks began in 2005. Negotiations stalled in 2007 due to the objections of the Greek Cypriot administration as well as opposition from Germany and France. Turkey’s backsliding from its democratization and reform agenda has also frustrated the accession process.

To gain membership, Turkey has to successfully conclude negotiations on 35 policy chapters that involve reforms and the adoption of European standards.

As of May 2016 a total of 16 chapters had been opened and one concluded. However, in December 2016 member states said no new chapters would be opened.

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