Ankara slams EU for double standards
ANKARA / BRUSSELS
Turkey slammed at decisions taken at the EU ministers meeting in Luxembourg on June 26 saying it was “biased” and “prejudiced” after the bloc said Ankara was moving further away from Europe.
The decisions openly display how the Union is “captured by an anti-Turkey mindset,” EU Minister Ömer Çelik said on June 27 on his Twitter account.
The minister said that the document is “lacking vision, non-realistic and full of contradictions”.
Austria is in the first place, some member countries have revealed anti-Turkey mindset in the outcome document of the General Affairs Council on June 26, said the minister.
The minister accused the EU of an attitude far from being objective, biased and based on neighborhood solidarity and said Turkey will not take it seriously.
Turkey cannot accept EU’s ‘selective relationship’, the minister said.
Çelik said that the EU’s latest comments amounted to saying “that it will not honour its commitments of the 18 March statement.” Taking aim in particular at Austria’s conservative government, he said it was “tragi-comic” that the EU made such comments when it was “held captive by members where the far-right is ruling”.
In a separate statement, the Foreign Minister said the EU decisions reflect the “prejudiced and unfair position of the EU towards” Turkey.
“Claiming that our country is moving further away from the process despite EU’s position is only hypocrisy and inconsistency,” said the ministry.
Turkey’s EU accession talks have come to a “standstill” as the country moves further away from the bloc, with little prospect of change in the near future, EU ministers said on June 26, however at the same time praised Turkey for its “constructive cooperation” in addressing the migrant crisis.
“The council [of ministers] notes that Turkey has been moving further away from the European Union,” EU affairs ministers meeting in Luxembourg said in a statement.
“Turkey’s accession negotiations have therefore effectively come to a standstill and no further chapters can be considered for opening or closing and no further work towards the modernization of the EU-Turkey Customs Union is foreseen,” it said.
The council also underlined the “continued need to focus” on the rule of law and fundamental rights in Turkey.
The council is especially concerned about the continuing and deeply worrying backsliding on the rule of law and on fundamental rights including the freedom of expression,” the ministers said.
“The deterioration of the independence and functioning of the judiciary cannot be condoned, nor can the ongoing restrictions, detentions, imprisonments and other measures targeting journalists, academics, members of political parties including parliamentarians, human rights defenders, social media users and others exercising their fundamental rights and freedoms.”
EU hails Turkey’s ‘constructive cooperation’ on migrant crisis
The ministers, however, did acknowledge that Turkey remains a “key partner” for the EU on issues such as helping halt the migrant influx into Europe.
The council “remains committed to maintaining an open and frank dialogue, to addressing common challenges and to cooperating in essential areas of joint interest such as migration, counterterrorism, energy, transport, the economy and trade,” the statement said.
“The continued implementation of the EU-Turkey Statement, which reduces irregular and dangerous crossings [by migrants] and saves lives in the Aegean Sea, is in the interest of both sides and remains crucial,” it added.
Turkey hosts nearly 3.6 million Syrian refugees, according to a refugee association’s data.
In March 2016, Turkey and the EU signed a deal aimed at stemming the irregular migration flow through the Aegean Sea by taking stricter measures against human traffickers. The deal also aimed to improve conditions for Syrian refugees in Turkey.
The statement said Turkey’s “constructive cooperation” on the migration crisis has “delivered clear results.”
“The council reiterates that continued implementation of the EU-Turkey Statement and continued support for partners along the Western Balkans route is required,” it added.
“The EU will continue its financial support and technical assistance to strengthen cooperation in this field, including through the EU Facility for Refugees in Turkey,” according to the statement.