EU Minister promotes Turkey’s new EU strategy

EU Minister promotes Turkey’s new EU strategy

EU Minister promotes Turkey’s new EU strategy

Turkey’s EU Minister Volkan Bozkır (R) shakes hands with former European Commissioner for Enlargement Stefan Füle in Brussels. Turkey has outlined a new strategy to secure accession to the European Union. AA Photo

Turkey has outlined a new strategy to secure accession to the European Union that vows determination in the political reform process, continuity in socio-economic transformation during the process, and effectiveness in communication.

“Prioritizing Turkey’s interests and the benefits of the citizens, the new strategy will lead to a boost in the reform process and the establishment of new communication channels between Turkey and the EU,” said a written statement from the EU Ministry on Sept. 18.

The European Union Strategy will go into effect upon the adoption of the National Action Plan for EU Accession and the European Union Communications Strategy in November and will be the first step for the “concrete commitment” declared by the new government, said the ministry’s strategy paper.

The European Union Strategy consists of the following parts: the political reform process, socio-economic transformation in the accession process and EU communication strategy, according to the paper.

The strategy paper outlined the road map as follows:

- The National Action Plan for EU Accession will be implemented in two periods: the first period will last until 2015 and the second will cover the period of 2015 to 2019. Determining the concrete and priority steps required in each negotiation chapter, the action plan consists of three parts; namely the harmonization of primary legislation, the harmonization of secondary legislation and institution building and others.

- Although fundamental laws and pieces of legislation have already been repealed or amended, all legislation bearing the imprints of the military coup of Sept. 12, 1980, will be reviewed in detail under the work for a new Constitution. The new charter will pave the way for the initiatives that Turkey needs by expanding the scope of politics and removing the imprints of the military tutelage.

- Although the relevant screening reports have not been conveyed to Turkey, the country will steadfastly continue a comprehensive reform agenda in all areas covered by the political criteria and accession chapters 23 and 24, such as freedom of expression, institutionalization in the field of human rights, border management, organized crimes and the management of migration.

- The work of the Reform Monitoring Group (RMG) and the Political Affairs Subcommittee (SIYAK) will be intensified in the upcoming period for the preparation of new reform packages.

- All necessary steps will be taken for the successful conclusion of a visa liberalization process.

- Adopting legislation is not sufficient for harmonization with the EU. Upcoming reforms will not only focus on new legal arrangements but also on enhancing the implementation capacity.

- The National Action Plan for the EU Accession will address Turkey’s priorities in continuing and enhancing socio-economic change and identify the legislation to be harmonized in addition to the areas of action for improving administrative structures in proper implementation.

- The communication strategy has two dimensions. The first one is communication at home which aims to solidify the domestic perception of the EU process as a modernization project that improves living standards of Turkish people. Such a perception will ensure the support of all segments of society for the adoption and proper implementation of the reforms.

The second dimension of the strategy addresses the international community in a bid to showcase facts about Turkey to mold a correct perception within EU public opinion. This dimension will help establish a trust in terms of Turkey’s commitment and self-confidence in the EU process.

Minister regrets own ‘progress reports’ on Turkey

EU Minister Volkan Bozkır, speaking meanwhile to reporters in Brussels Sept. 18, regretted earlier “progress reports” from Turkey that were announced in 2012 and 2013 in reaction to the EU.

“Turkey’s own progress reports do not have any value regarding the system,” he said, noting that the upcoming report should be functional both for the EU and Turkey. An “inappropriate tone” in the report could cause more problems, he warned.