Ankara says EU is “incomplete” without Turkey

Tuesday, 10 January 2017 15:59
Turkey continues to press for EU membership. Turkey continues to press for EU membership. © Belga
The Turkish Minister for Foreign Affairs urged the European Union to reopen the process of Turkey's membership.
He said that the European Union remains “incomplete” whilst his country is not part of it.

Speaking at the opening of a conference for Turkish ambassadors (9 January), Mevlut Cavusoglu called upon the EU to open new chapters in Turkey's accession negotiations “by lifting artificial obstacles to our country's membership.”

Mr Cavusoglu also asserted that Turkey “was awaiting immediate implementation of visa liberalisation” allowing its citizens to travel freely in the Schengen area.

Membership of the EU remains “a strategic choice” for Ankara, Turkey's President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, also stated yesterday (9 January).

He nevertheless insisted on the fact that Turkey would not accept “incoherent policies and double standards” on the part of the EU.

The EU and Ankara have had a strained relationship since the failed coup d'état on July 15th in Turkey and the subsequent political repression.

In the eyes of the EU, Turkey does not meet all of the criteria at the moment, justifying the exemption for Schengen visas for its citizens. However the EU-Turkey migration pact, concluded in March, anticipated an acceleration of this liberalisation process.

Moreover, the European Parliament voted on November 24th in favour of a non-binding resolution demanding the “temporary freezing” of Turkey's EU membership negotiations. The Turkish President has strongly denounced this “freezing”, once again brandishing the threat of sending migrants to Europe.

The vast majority of EU countries are against such a “freezing”, but “in the current circumstances, opening new chapters” in the membership negotiations “is not envisaged”, the current EU Council Presidency stated on December 13th last year.

Christopher Vincent
The Brussels Times
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