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DIPLOMACY >Turkey wants to carry on its EU membership bid on win-win basis

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REUTERS photo

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Becoming a member of the European Union is a strategic target for Turkey, which wants to continue its membership bid on a win-win basis, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said.

“Our country, which has historically, geographically and culturally been a part of Europe for centuries, has the will to continue its EU membership process, which it sees as a strategic target, based on mutual respect, quality and a win-win concept,” Erdoğan said May 9 in a written statement to mark Europe Day.

The Turkish president said the cooperation developed with the EU at the peak of the migrant crisis in 2016 was the “most concrete and up-to-date example” of the country’s aspirations.

“Our wish is to carry our cooperation with the EU to the utmost level in fields such as migration, economy, energy, the customs union and membership negotiations,” Erdoğan added.

Erdoğan said the EU’s success story is being “seriously tested” at a time the global uncertainties have risen.
“The ceremony to mark the 60th anniversary of the Rome Treaty this year was held in a pessimistic mood with the union’s future being discussed, rather than celebrations,” he added.

“Without a doubt, the biggest threat to the future of the union is that exclusionary discourse has become a tool of populist politics across Europe. Social diseases such as discrimination, cultural racism, xenophobia and Islamophobia, unfortunately, are spreading around the continent,” the president said, adding that far-right parties that have been increasing their votes “have taken Europe’s socio-political life prisoner.”

“We see that many European politicians, in the name of short-term gains, keep their silence against these movements threatening the union’s founding principles and Europe’s joint future,” the president said.
Erdoğan congratulated all Turkish citizens and Europeans on Europe Day, while wishing a prosperous future to the European Union.

Turkish EU Minister Ömer Çelik, meanwhile, said the country wanted to enhance ties with the EU instead of speaking about “concerns.”

“We believe in the common values and benefits of the European Union and Turkey,” Çelik said in a statement to mark Europe Day.    
  
“We desire to speak on which fields we can cooperate, instead of speaking on ‘concerns,’ with the European foundations and the member countries, in the coming period,” he said.   

He also said Turkey was ready to support the EU in its current difficulties.        

“Despite the current turbulence experienced by the EU, the EU will be shielded from this as long as it adheres to its strong and deep-rooted values and principles,” he added.

May/09/2017

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