EU agrees to open new membership talks with Turkey

European Union ministers agreed Tuesday to reopen Turkey’s accession talks despite reticence from Germany and others over Ankara’s tough crackdown on protests.

Ireland, which currently holds the rotating EU presidency, said EU ministers had finally agreed to resume membership talks with Turkey after a three-year break.

In Ankara, the foreign ministry immediately welcomed the move.

European Affairs ministers meeting in Luxembourg «agree to open Chapter 22», an Irish spokeswoman said, referring to one of 35 sets of EU rules and regulations that candidates to membership of the bloc must satisfy before gaining entry to the European club.

The opening of negotiations on Chapter 22 had been expected Wednesday, but Berlin, backed by the governments of Austria and the Netherlands, had blocked the plan due to concerns over Ankara’s tough crackdown on protests in the last weeks.

Negotiations now are expected to kick off in the autumn, probably in October after the German elections. [AFP]