EU leaders should act reasonably at December summit: Kurtulmuş
ANKARAEuropean Union leaders should act reasonably at the European Council’s December meeting, Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmuş urged, reiterating that the Turkish government had dismissed a decision by the European Parliament to recommend a freeze in Turkey’s EU accession talks.
“I would like to state that in contrast to this decision [of the European Parliament], it is important to exhibit a reasonable approach to Turkey at the leaders’ summit. We do not want this relationship to move in a negative direction. But in the event of a negative situation, I would like to say that the EU would be affected more,” Kurtulmuş said Nov. 28 after a cabinet meeting.
His comment came after the European Parliament advised the European Commission and member states to temporarily freeze Turkey’s EU accession talks in a resolution adopted on Nov. 24.
Commencing and ending full membership negotiations occur through European Council decisions, which require the unanimity of all member states. Turkey began full membership talks in 2005 but could only open 16 chapters out of 35 until now. The council will gather EU leaders in December to decide on Turkey’s future relations with the bloc.
Criticizing the resolution for contradicting European values, Kurtulmuş said the government did not acknowledge the European Parliament’s decision.
“This decision indicates the rise of the radical right. This decision is an alarm bell for European politics. It is a contradiction to European values. It is visionless and is a decision which has double standards,” he said. “We, as the government of the Republic of Turkey, declare this decision void.”
Assessing EU-Turkey relations, Kurtulmuş said Turkey expected the EU to stick to the refugee deal, which the EU offered 3 billion euros for and said they would provide visa-free travel for Turkish citizens in response to Turkey taking more responsibility for refugees.
“What we are expecting is for the EU to do its part. They should adopt visa liberalization [for Turkish citizens] which we agreed to implement in June 2016. The EU is due to give 3 billion euros to aid Turkey’s help for refugees. We hope the EU makes this due payment,” he said.