EU Commissioner Hahn to visit Turkey on July 6
Sevil Errkuş - ANKARA
REUTERS photoEuropean Commissioner Johannes Hahn, who oversees EU membership bids, will pay a visit to Turkey on July 6 as part of a re-engagement decision made by parties during a meeting between EU officials and President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on May 25.
In the May 25 meeting, Erdoğan, Council of Europe President Donald Tusk and European Commission head Jean-Claude Juncker decided to revive ties between Ankara and Brussels.
July is set to be a busy month with visits by several EU officials to Turkey, as European Commissioner for Transport Violeta Bulc is also expected to visit Turkey.
The bloc wants to maintain engagement with Turkey even if it doesn’t meet Turkey’s demands for the opening of chapters “23-Judiciary and Fundamental Rights” and “24-Justice, Freedom, and Security.”
Despite a mutual understanding to move toward a positive agenda, such as the customs union and migrant deals, Turkey’s accession talks are in limbo since Brussels expects Ankara to meet certain criteria including ending the state of emergency.
Ankara, for its part, keeps the issue of accession talks on the bilateral agenda, with the latest meeting of political directors on June 13, where the topic was discussed during half of the meeting, a Turkish official told Hürriyet Daily News.
Stressing that Turkey is still under a state of emergency, the EU side told Turkish officials that “new chapters could be opened only if Turkey normalizes.”
“Everybody’s clear that currently at least, Turkey is moving away from a European perspective,” Hahn told Reuters in May.
“The focus of our relationship has to be something else,” he said in an interview after EU foreign ministers met in Malta and where France and Germany led efforts to consider a new deal with Ankara based on trade and security ties.
In another statement in April, Hahn said he hoped that EU member states - and “hopefully also Turkey” - are ready to look into “a more fundamental discussion on a possible new format of cooperation.”
“The view of the EU side, and reciprocated on the Turkish side, is that ‘it’s time to re-engage. It’s important that we stop talking about each other, but rather talk to each other,’” an EU official earlier told Hürriyet Daily News on condition of anonymity, elaborating on the May 25 meeting.