EU: Two new negotiations on Turkish membership possible in June

The European Union said Wednesday it may soon open negotiations with Turkey on company law and intellectual property rights as part of the country's membership talks. Slovenian State Secretary for European Affairs Janez Lenarcic told the European Parliament that the talks could begin during Slovenia's EU presidency, which runs until the end of June. In all, there are 35 negotiating "chapters" - areas in which Turkey must enact EU rules and legislation if it is to join the bloc. Six chapters have already been opened while eight have been frozen because of Ankara's refusal to trade with EU member Cyprus. Negotiations on those eight points will not open until Turkey allows Greek Cypriot planes and vessels to use Turkish ports and airports. Lenarcic told the European Parliament there has been no progress regarding Turkey's commitment to extend its existing customs arrangements with the EU to Cyprus. Turkey's EU membership talks began in 2005, but human rights, a dispute over divided Cyprus and other issues have slowed the bid.