It is “in the interest of both parties that accession negotiations gain further momentum,” a statement by the EU said on Monday, as the 27-member bloc pledged to restarts entry talks following a three-year hiatus.
“EU noted with deep regret that Turkey, despite repeated calls, continued refusing to fulfill its obligation of full, no-discriminatory implementation of the terms set for the negotiations,” the statement said, adding, “…Turkey had not made progress towards the necessary normalization of its relations with … Cyprus.”
The statement noted that Ankara “would be able to accelerate the pace” of the talks by making progress towards the benchmarks set.
The EU statement comes as the 51th meeting of the EU-Turkey Association Council attended by Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu was held in Brussels on Monday.
Davutoglu replied to the statement at a press conference attended by Irish Foreign Minister Eamon Gilmore, saying “With this speed, we might have to wait another half a century to complete the process.”
“Without Turkey, the EU will not be complete, it will not have strategic or geographic continuity,” he argued.
Turkey’s efforts to join the EU formally started in 2005 but have stalled in recent years due to several stumbling blocks including its human rights record, commitment to democratic values, and the issue of Cyprus, which has been divided between its Greek and Turkish communities since Ankara invaded the island in 1974.