Turkey works to complete EU membership
Turkey is working to complete the requirements for European Union membership, said the country's EU minister on Monday Anadolu Agency reported
Attending the inaugration of the Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance Rural Development Programme in Ankara, Volkan Bozkir said: "Although there is a political blockade on chapter 11 -- Agriculture and Rural Development--, we continue to work on it."
Turkey applied for EU membership in 1987 and accession talks began in 2005.
To gain membership, Turkey must successfully conclude negotiations with the EU in 35 policy chapters, which involve reforms and the adoption of European standards.
So far, 14 chapters have been opened, while 17 remain blocked and another four have yet to be discussed.
Noting that EU membership is "strategic aim" for Turkey, Bozkir said: "Membership will provide an important contribution to our people in every aspect of daily life."
Bozkir said that the EU allocated €4.79 billion ($5.35 billion) of grants to Turkey within the framework of the Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance from 2007 to 2013.
Turkish Agriculture and Livestock Minister Mehdi Eker said the instrument was created for the candidate countries to receive support during the EU membership process.
Within the scope of the instrument, the candidate countries and potential candidate countries are assisted in aligning legislation and regulations with EU standards.
Eker also said Turkey works "sincerely" to gain membership.
Bela Szombati, the Head of Delegation of the EU to Turkey, said the instrument represents a very solid example of EU-Turkish cooperation.
"We firmly believe that the support provided will contribute to the alignment of the Turkish agriculture sector to that of the EU and, in broader sense, also Turkey's EU integration," Szombati added.