POLITICS > Turkey’s EU process an end in itself, says Turkish diplomat

ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News

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 Turkey’s Undersecretary of the Ministry of EU Affairs Haluk Ilıcak.  DHA Photo

Turkey’s Undersecretary of the Ministry of EU Affairs Haluk Ilıcak. DHA Photo

Dilara Sarı Dilara Sarı dilara.sari@hdn.com.tr

Once Turkey succeeds in completing the chapters and improving itself to reach European standards, the actual accession is not that important, and could be debated, Turkey’s Undersecretary of the Ministry of EU Affairs Haluk Ilıcak said today during the ministry’s Istanbul conference.

Ilıcak said some of the chapters were politically blocked, but Turkish authorities were doing their bests to tackle as many chapters as possible, seeing them as steps of necessary improvement.

“The process means more than the accession,” Ilıcak said. “Once the necessary levels are achieved, Turkey is big enough to continue its development without the accession. Our aim is to achieve a smooth accession process.”

Ilıcak added that accession attempts had allowed “democratic reforms to be put into place.”

State Secretary of the Swedish Foreign Ministry, Frank Belfarge, one of the remaining guests on Ilıcak’s panel, also spoke on Turkey’s accession, saying a ‘new momentum’ was expected this year.

“A new momentum in the EU-Turkey relations could be achieved this year,” Belfarge said.

Turkey had ‘torturous’ EU process, says former UK secretary of state

Meanwhile, former British Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs Jack Straw said that Turkey had so far had a “torturous” accession process with the European Union.

The countries of the union needed to admit that they have discriminated against Turkey when compared to the remaining accession processes, which have progressed far faster than with Turkey, Straw added, where the union gave “some countries the benefit of the doubt.”

Those realized accessions have been “more a matter of expectation than of reality,” Straw said, however, he also stated that “an active consensus across the spectrum” existed among nations with regard to the Turkish accession.

Turkey’s attempts at improving itself and catching up with chapters were impressive, Straw added, and repeated a previous statement by a Turkish minister, saying, “As long as Brussels refuses to negotiate with Turkey, Turkey will continue negotiating with itself.”

‘I too was a protester’

Straw also commented on the ongoing Gezi Park protests, and highlighted the importance of having the congress at a “peaceful time, when the world watches the events in Turkey.”

“Democracy is a fine balance between the will of the majority and the rights of the minority,” Straw said, “demonstrations indicate the strength of democracy.”

Straw then told the attending guests that he too had once been “a protester” during his time as a president of Britain’s students’ union, where he had organized “all peaceful demonstrations” against the then Education Minister Margaret Thatcher.

Straw said the recent events showed “how strongly Turkish people felt about their opinions”, adding that nevertheless, protesters should beware of provocations.

“Violence, riots, and looting by extremists should be condemned.”


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Notice on comments


6/8/2013 8:07:32 PM

Straw has no credibility, his words are meaningless. Until Turkey has freedom of speech, and the press is allowed to act investigatively towards Parliament, plus the AKP introduces reform in Competition and Transparency, nothing else need be said. Corruption is the great divider in Turkey, but the AKP do nothing about it. Why?

Ali Kanat

6/8/2013 6:04:43 PM

Jailing journalists, jail for blasphemy, long term imprisonment without trial. He is right to say that these changes should be made now, regardless of EU accession (which I don't think Turkey really wants or needs). Sadly I don't see any sign of Turkey reforming on an appalling human rights record.If anything I see a commitment to heading in the opposite direction.

Halit Nofal

6/8/2013 11:16:28 AM

This show must end ... Turkey is not a part of Europe it is called "Minor Asia" , not now not in a million year Europe will accept 80 Million Muslim in Europe. Europe doesn't want to border Iran and the Middle East or deal with the Kurdish Issue. AKP know that but they just being a part of this show because Turkey since Ataturk is trying to be European and a western country but the sad news for many Turks is: they are belong to the East , been and will always be. get over it and move on .

alkan alkan

6/8/2013 11:06:15 AM

"Once Turkey succeeds in completing the chapters and improving itself to reach European standards, the actual accession is not that important ". This statement is pure humbug. If the accession is not that important then why not withdraw the application..??

dennis kavaz

6/8/2013 10:04:49 AM

It’s unknown why E U officials and comment writers, keep on condemning (an ally) Turkey’s standing and progress. They should in fact be more concerned about (the Big bear) which is placing in the Mediterranean an eternal naval base; and in addition be concern about (1.3 billion people) at Far East Asia; which they are copying West’s top industrial, Machines, engines, vehicles, household goods, hacking aircraft and weapons designs.

John Smith

6/8/2013 9:45:47 AM

Just the comments from the Muslim haters should show Turks that there is a foreign hand in these protests. Look at the comments and you will see they are always the same muslim hating forigeners.


6/8/2013 6:42:15 AM

Well, someone finally said something smart about EU. It is the process not the membership itself that matters.


6/8/2013 2:34:56 AM

Peter Kypros, so it is OK to demonstrate in Greece but not Turkey? We have seen the demonstrations in Greece as well. They are far more violent than the demos in Istanbul, As soon as something happens in Turkey, you lot claim that we are not fit foe EU, well our demonstrations are a walk in the park,, compared to other EU nations. Jack Straw is correct, he is basically saying that Greece and Cyprus and co, got in by the EU turning a blind eye. THEY WERE NOT FIT TO BE IN THE EU. SIMPLE

Peter Kypros

6/7/2013 11:35:13 PM

Jack Straw is well known for his flattering comments to the Government of Turkey. Part of payroll? It is clear that the people want democracy and this is what EU wants too to admit Turkey. There is no torture just lack of will for speedy reforms. These reforms cannot come easily from a government who also wants to satisfy what God wants according to their thinking. Progress was made but clearly Turkey is not there yet and this is what the people are clearly demonstrating.

Misses Ataturk

6/7/2013 11:05:49 PM

You said it mara!
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