AKP plans to open office in Brussels

AKP plans to open office in Brussels

ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
AKP plans to open office in Brussels

Prime Minister Erdoğan (2nd L), Foreign Minister Davutoğlu (C) attend a ceremony in this photo. Erdoğan has ordered studies for opening of the Brussels office. AA photo

The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) is planning to open an office in Brussels by the beginning of next year. The plans come at an interesting time, as the government is currently being accused of alienating itself from the EU accession process.

AKP Deputy Chair Salih Kapusuz, speaking to the Hürriyet Daily News, confirmed the plans, saying that the move had been initiated by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

Erdoğan ordered studies for opening of the Brussels office during a Central Executive Board meeting of his party, which took place before the release of the European Commission’s progress report on Turkey on Oct. 10. In the report, the EU’s executive body expressed serious concerns about Turkey’s progress in meeting the political criteria for full membership of the bloc, paying considerable attention to freedom of expression, assembly and association, lengthy prosecution and detention periods, and the failure to find a political solution to the Kurdish issue.

The AKP’s unit in charge of external relations is currently working on the plan. Accordingly, a comprehensive report analyzing the potential advantages and disadvantages of having an office in Brussels will be drafted and presented for Erdoğan’s assessment during an upcoming MYK meeting. If Erdoğan eventually agrees with the idea, the office will be opened by the beginning of 2013 at the latest.

The AKP’s party guidelines include an article that offers the opportunity for the opening of “representations abroad,” and studies concerning the Brussels office are being carried out within the scope of this article. Brussels is assumed to be the first point of all future representations abroad for the party.

Currently, two parties represented at Parliament have representation offices in Brussels. The main opposition Republican

People’s Party’s (CHP) office in Brussels was opened in 2008 by the former leader of the party, Deniz Baykal. The party is currently represented in Brussels by Kader Sevinç.

The Peace and Democracy Party’s (BDP) representation office in Brussels was also opened in 2008. The office is currently jointly headed by Hatice Çoban and Eyüp Doğru.