The European Union’s General Affairs Council has approved talks on the opening of a new chapter in Turkey’s accession to the EU, deciding that an intergovernmental conference for this purpose will be held on Nov. 5.

The council had already agreed in June that Chapter 22 on regional policy would be opened, but it delayed the intergovernmental conference until October in retaliation for Turkey’s handling of the Gezi Park protests. The protests that swept Turkish cities started in opposition to the redevelopment of İstanbul’s Gezi Park but soon became violent with the involvement of marginal groups. Clashes with police left four people dead and about 7,500 injured.

EU governments took this year’s European Commission Progress Report on Turkey into account when deciding whether to revive Turkey’s frozen accession process by opening talks on a new policy area.

The European Commission recommended breathing new life into Turkey’s EU bid in the report, while also saying that the Turkish police used excessive force when dealing with the Gezi Park protesters.

Turkey largely welcomed this year’s Progress Report while urging the 28-nation bloc to open a new chapter to revive the long-stalled accession negotiations. EU Affairs Minister Egemen Bağış, however, rejected the criticism of Turkey’s handling of the anti-government protests, saying that the report showed it had come closer to European economic and democratic standards. see more

source: todayszaman