EU split in Turkey's economic leadership
Şükrü Küçükşahin MUŞ/ANKARA – Hürriyet
Turkey should end the customs union agreement with the EU, Economy Minister Çağlayan has said. Deputy Prime Minister Ali Babacan has called on policymakers to 'think strategically.' DHA photoTurkey should end the customs union agreement with the European Union and sign a free trade agreement with the EU, Economy Minister Zafer Çağlayan said Oct. 27, as a response to Deputy PM Ali Babacan’s remarks in support of the customs union.
“I directly experienced the effects of the customs union, as former head of the chamber of commerce and as an industrialist. It is true, the customs union added a lot to Turkey, but now the agreement is nothing but a piece of paper, having lost its core target,” Çağlayan said, adding that he was already "betting upon this" with his friend in the Cabinet (Babacan), who is against any cancellation of the customs union.
“Turkey should sign a free trade agreement with the EU rather than continue the customs union process,” Çağlayan said, adding the customs union had not enabled Turkey full membership of the EU, or included it in the EU’s trade agreements with third parties.
“Furthermore, there are still quotas against Turkey. That’s why I am against the customs union. Let us ink an FTA with the EU,” he noted.
'Not easy to say we’re out'
Babacan had earlier rejected calls by Çağlayan and some businessmen to withdraw from the customs union negotiated in 1996 with Turkey’s biggest trading partner.
Critics say the pact restricts Turkey’s export competitiveness, as the bloc enters into free-trade agreements with other nations that are binding for Ankara even though the Turks don’t have a say in the negotiations.
“It’s not that easy to say we’re angry and we’re out, He who rises in fury reaps damage from his fall. We always have to think strategically,” said Babacan.