EU membership meaningful if both sides win: President Erdoğan
Ankara will accept an equation of Turkey’s membership to the European Union if both sides benefit, but nobody can force the country into a harmful option, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on May 9.
Turkey will see how sincere the EU is in visa liberalization when it fulfills six remaining criteria out of 72, he said, referring to the visa-free travel process between Ankara and Brussels which awaits Turkey’s fulfillment of some legislations.
“We need to give more weight to structural reforms in order to strengthen our economy. We need to accelerate the reforms that will provide confidence to international investors and that will make our country gain momentum,” he said.
The presidential government system has accelerated the decision-making and implementation processes, he said. “Now we have the opportunity to implement our reforms more quickly and effectively.”
“Developing the fundamental rights and freedoms of our citizens is a key priority for us,” Erdoğan stated.
“In order to strengthen our economy, we need to give more weight to structural reforms. The most important of these will be the steps we will take in the judiciary,” he said, noting that a justice academy is on their agenda to provide better training to judges and prosecutors.
“If we share the Judicial Reform Strategy with the public and implement the reforms here quickly, we will give a positive message to the markets and prepare the environment to accelerate the investments,” he said, recalling the long waiting reform strategy for justice.
Ankara should focus on areas where Turkish-EU relations will benefit in the coming period, he said.
Turkey applied for EU membership in 1987 and accession talks began in 2005.
But negotiations stalled in 2007 due to the objections of the Greek Cypriot administration on the divided island of Cyprus as well as opposition from Germany and France.