Minister for European Affairs says “no question” of break with EU

Thursday, 11 May 2017 12:34
Omer Celik very much favours moving forward in Turkey’s accession negotiations with the EU. Omer Celik very much favours moving forward in Turkey’s accession negotiations with the EU. © Belga
Turkey has no intention of cutting its ties with Brussels, and will continue to push for membership of the EU.
Omer Celik (the Turkish Minister for European Affairs stated this yesterday (Wednesday).

Diplomatic relations between Ankara and Brussels have deteriorated since the abortive coup d'état in July 2016, which took place in Turkey.

Tensions further increased after last month’s referendum, which strengthened the powers of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

However Mr Celik, who was visiting Brussels, considered that these developments should not hinder bilateral relations and his country's request for membership of the European bloc. Both of these are currently at risk of losing momemtum.

“We seek to move forward within the context of full EU membership. There is no question of our cutting ties with the EU.”

The Turkish Minister, the first senior official to go to Brussels since the referendum on April 16th, stated this.

Mr Celik met with Federica Mogherini, the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security. Celik was also due to meet the Vice-President of the European Commission, Frans Timmermans, as well as the Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship, Dimitris Avramopoulos.

Omer Celik argued, “The post-referendum landscape shows the democratic nature of power in Turkey. This should also be taken into account.”

He discussed these ideas in Brussels, and they were subsequently broadcast on Turkish television.

Urging the EU to start new chapters of membership negotiations with Ankara, the Turkish minister desired the beginning of “a new era of closer relations” between both parties.

On May 2nd, President Erdogan had enjoined the EU to relaunch these negotiations. He threatened that, if these were not forthcoming, his country would be ready to say “Goodbye” to the Union.

The negotiation of Turkey’s EU membership is currently very much in limbo, and progress seems unlikely in the short term.

Since talks officially began, in 2005, 16 chapters out of the 35 in the acquis communautaire, which forms the basis of accession negotiations for any state, have been subject to initial discussion in respect of Turkey. The last such discussion occurred in June 2016.

Christopher Vincent
The Brussels Times
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