Recently, there have been efforts to resuscitate the negotiation chapters between the EU and Turkey, which is aiming to fully join the EU by 2023. According to the Greek Cypriot Foreign Minister, Erato Kozakou-Marcoullis, Greek Cyprus will continue to veto the six chapters under negotiation. The primary reason Greek Cyprus opposes Turkey’s inclusion into the EU is because of Ankara’s policies on Cyprus. Turkey does not recognize the divided island state. However, Turkish Cypriot officials have made it clear that they want a two state-solution. It is possible that the negotiations may yet move forward since Ireland and France expressed the intention to unblock Greek Cyprus’s opposition on at least two chapters. Egemen Bagis, Turkey’s EU Affairs Minister, confirmed this and said that he was expecting François Hollande to open two chapters about Turkey’s membership in the EU. So far there is only one policy chapter that Ankara completed out of 35 to join the EU. Accession negotiations that started in 2005 have been on hold because of Turkey’s failure to resolve issues surrounding Cyprus, as well as the opposition of key member states, France and Germany.
Despite persistent allegations that US-led sanctions have decreased the trade between Iran and Turkey, Bahman Hosseinpour, Iranian Ambassador to Turkey, denied these rumors and argued that trade between Ankara and Tehran has been increasing. Turkey’s Minister of Development, Cevdet Yilmaz, confirmed that in the first 11 months of 2012 economic cooperation between Iran and Turkey has exceeded $22bln. He expressed that Ankara wants to increase the economic and trade ties between the two nations, ignoring the Western pressure to decrease trade. Moreover Zafer Caglayan, Turkish Economy Minister, made it clear that US sanctions aimed at gold exports would not affect Turkey’s trade cooperation with Iran. He added that Washington cannot enforce extraterritorial laws and that Turkey is neither a member of the United States of America nor a member of the European Union, referring the fact that the decisions of the US and EU are only binding on them. Iranian and Turkish officials are expecting an increase in trade up to $30bln by 2015.
The spokesperson of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) spoke of a major accomplishment in terms of women’s rights that has taken place in Saudi Arabia.
The OIC’s Ten-Year Programme of Action, which was implemented in 2005, asked members to give more emphasis to women rights. In response, Saudi Arabia recently included 30 women into its Shoura Council. This move is expected to ameliorate women’s status at national, regional and international levels. OIC spokesperson emphasized the historical importance of the inclusion of women in to the Saudi Council. He expressed the fact that this achievement will have progressive outcomes in terms of the development of Saudi society.