World

Turkey takes new step forward in long-delayed EU membership process

  • Turkey's European Affairs Minister Volkan Bozkir, left, and Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, right, pose for photographers with Luxembourg's Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn during an EU Turkey Intergovernmental meeting at the EU Council building in Brussels on Monday, Dec. 14, 2015. (AP Photo/Geert Vanden Wijngaert)

    Turkey's European Affairs Minister Volkan Bozkir, left, and Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, right, pose for photographers with Luxembourg's Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn during an EU Turkey Intergovernmental meeting at the EU Council building in Brussels on Monday, Dec. 14, 2015. (AP Photo/Geert Vanden Wijngaert)  (The Associated Press)

  • Turkey's Deputy Prime Minister Mehmet Simsek, left, European Affairs Minister Volkan Bozkir, second left, and Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, right, pose for photographers with Luxembourg's Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn during an EU Turkey Intergovernmental meeting at the EU Council building in Brussels on Monday, Dec. 14, 2015. (AP Photo/Geert Vanden Wijngaert)

    Turkey's Deputy Prime Minister Mehmet Simsek, left, European Affairs Minister Volkan Bozkir, second left, and Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, right, pose for photographers with Luxembourg's Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn during an EU Turkey Intergovernmental meeting at the EU Council building in Brussels on Monday, Dec. 14, 2015. (AP Photo/Geert Vanden Wijngaert)  (The Associated Press)

Turkey has taken a step forward in its long-delayed membership talks with the European Union.

EU officials agreed on Monday to open negotiations with Ankara on economic and monetary policy.

It's one of 35 policy chapters every aspiring EU member must negotiate to join. Turkey has now opened talks on 15 chapters.

The move comes two weeks after the EU offered billions in refugee aid, an easing of visa rules and faster membership talks if Turkey would do more to stop migrants reaching Europe.

Turkey started talks a decade ago, but progress has been held up because some countries, notably Germany, would prefer a "privileged partnership" to full EU membership.

A long-simmering dispute between EU member Cyprus and the large, relatively poor and mainly Muslim country also blocked some chapters.