Europe urges Turkey for 'better dialogue, progress'
EU Enlargement Commissioner Stefan Füle smiles while taking part in a meeting of the working group on Chapter 23 of Turkey’s EU membership with Turkey’s EU Minister and Chief Negotiator Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu in Ankara. AFP PhotoThe EU commissioner for enlargement has urged Ankara to consult further with the EU Commission in making legislation more compatible with the EU’s acquis.
“I have invited my Turkish colleagues to decisively engage with the EU in a comprehensive and credible reform process and to allow close dialogue with the commission in the areas fundamental rights and rule of law,” Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighborhood Policy Stefan Füle told reporters after the working group meeting on Chapter 23 (Judiciary and Fundamental Rights) on June 17.
Citing “recent turbulence” in Turkey over the past few months, Füle said there have been “doubts cast over Turkey’s commitment to European values and standards” of late. He particularly mentioned “corruption allegations, the reshuffle of investigations and judges, and the rapid adoption of legislation that has not been consulted with the EU, which seems to have moved Turkey further away from EU standards."
Together with Turkish EU Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu and Justice Minister Bekir Bozdağ, the working group held a meeting in Ankara. The meeting was a “good opportunity to determine which direction to take on the reform of the judiciary and on fundamental rights and freedom questions,” Füle said.
He added that he hoped in the coming weeks they would be allowed to translate those discussions into “concrete actions agreed on by both sides.”
“There is a chance to turn our positive agenda into tangible results and set the appropriate tone for the next progress report. It will serve a basis for the new Commission to determine how to continue EU engagement with Turkey,” Füle stated.
“I hope Turkey will provide positive substance so that it can be achieved,” he added.
Füle expressed hope that after the working group’s open discussions on Chapter 23, Turkey and the EU would be able to “cooperate on every legislative act and Turkey will makes changes for its citizens in the area of the rule of law, separation of powers, freedom of expression, and at the same time moving itself closer to the EU.”
Constitutional Court visit
The EU commissioner added that Turkey needs to commit in pursuing relevant reforms, as "the future of the accession process will not be determined by the results of the European parliamentary elections, but by Turkey’s own performance."
In addition to that meeting, Füle also met with Turkish Constitutional Court President Haşim Kılıç, a notable gathering after all criticisms that Kılıç received from government circles following the court’s verdicts on controversial laws.
“I welcome the role of the Constitutional Court and its commitment to safeguard the rule of law, its respect for fundamental rights and freedoms, its decisions to cancel the bans on Twitter, YouTube and its amendments of controversial parts of the legislation of the High Council of Prosecutors and Judges,” Füle said.
The rulings of the Court “contribute to what is now really needed to bring confidence back to the judiciary, and putting an end to the polarization of society,” he added.
Surprisingly, Füle did not meet with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan during his visit. Despite media reports that Erdoğan did not grant the commissioner an appointment, Füle said he was "very sorry that I could not find time to ask for an appointment with the prime minister, I am sure I’ll correct that."