ANKARA, Feb. 21 (Xinhua) -- Turkey's bid to join the European Union (EU) gains fresh momentum in February, as France expresses willingness to lift its veto on at least one negotiation chapter.
France used to block five chapters out of 35 that Turkey needs to finalize before becoming a full member of the EU, but incumbent French President Francois Hollande has modified the French position on the issue.
Hollande is expected to make a first official visit to Turkey soon, courting better relations with Ankara.
Analysts believe that France, battered by economic woes in the Eurozone and faced with fiscal problems, is seeking to expand its export market, while Turkey with a huge consumer market offers just that kind of opportunities.
"We will have to wait and see to what degree this 'reset' is really going to happen," said Amanda Paul, political analyst with Brussels-based European Policy Center.
Meanwhile, Germany, an economic powerhouse of the 27-member bloc, is also against speedy progress on Turkey's EU membership.
"Germany, though publicly claiming to support Turkish candidacy, is the main force behind the curtain that runs the opposition campaign against Turkey's full membership," Idris Gursoy, analyst based in Ankara, told Xinhua. "Since German economy is the main beneficiary of the single market within the EU, it does not want to share this market with Turkey."
"It seems Hollande realized that this does not serve French interests anymore," Gursoy added.
Cyprus, which Turkey refuses to recognize as a sovereign state, is another obstacle for Turkey to obtain EU membership.
The presidential elections in Cyprus, which is expected to be won by Nicos Anastasiades, a pro-solution political figure in Cyprus, have given fresh hopes for the stalled Turkish membership talks in the EU.
"Anastasiades' victory would be a positive sign for the resolution of the Cyprus issue. He will try to pursue a more moderate policy on the issue," said Mehmet Hasguler of the European Lefke University.