Turkey to insist on EU membership process over ‘strong cooperation’ deal
ANKARA - Anadolu AgencyTurkey will insist on maintaining its EU accession process instead of settling for a lesser “strong cooperation” deal with the bloc, EU Minister Ömer Çelik said on July 6.
Çelik was speaking in Ankara during a news conference with Johannes Hahn, the EU’s enlargement official.
“The backbone of the relationship between Turkey and the EU is accession negotiations,” he told reporters.
Çelik’s remarks came before lawmakers in the European Parliament vote on a 2016 Commission Report on Turkey.
Among other things, the report calls on EU member states to “formally suspend accession negotiations with Turkey without delay” if a series of Turkish constitutional reforms, passed in an April 16 referendum, are implemented “unchanged.”
Çelik said any proposal that fell short of accession negotiations would be against the nature of the relationship that Turkey and the EU have had up to now.
He added that Ankawra would continue to work to open more chapters in its EU membership negotiations.
Striking a more conciliatory tone, Hahn said he hoped the interaction between the two sides would lead to a higher level of political dialogue.
"I don't know what will be decided, but I have to stress that the European Parliament is one of the institutions elected by the European citizens. Members of the European Parliament represent the view of their voters," Hahn said.