EU’s ‘indecent proposal’ angers Turkish minister

EU’s ‘indecent proposal’ angers Turkish minister

Deniz Zeyrek - ANKARA
EU’s ‘indecent proposal’ angers Turkish minister

AA photo

Turkish EU Minister Beril Dedeoğlu has been left apoplectic after Brussels suggested “an inappropriate proposal” to Ankara that linked Turkey’s EU accession process with a solution to the refugee crisis.

Dedeoğlu, nonetheless, also said criticism directed at Turkey in the European Commission’s latest progress report indicated “a breaking point in a positive sense.” 

“During the meetings, we were grappling with the refugee issue and chapters. We didn’t have a progress report on our agenda. During a dinner … a young person from the commission attempted to match the progress report to refugee issue. Something like ‘We could soften the content of this progress report if we sort out the refugee issue,’ was said. I swear I can’t even remember how I chided him; I guess I took advantage of being a non-diplomat. I behaved like saying: ‘Release it, who’s afraid? We are what we are.’ Mr. Commissioner told me ‘I guess you were a tough professor,’” Dedeoğlu told daily Hürriyet after the release of the report on Nov. 10.

“That issue has never come up again; I want to underline that,” she said.

Acknowledging that she found the report “weighty,” Dedeoğlu, an academic who is acting as the EU minister in the interim government, said: “Yes, one feels sorry when reading some things. You don’t want to hear them. It is not very difficult to see the motive behind some of the [findings] which are truly exaggerated. We know, but in the end we, as citizens, want to live in a better country. Between the lines of the report, there are methods for being able to do this.”

Dedeoğlu cited the criticism concerning appointments involving the Supreme Council of Judges and Prosecutors (HSYK) as an example of “unfair criticism.”

Although more replacements took place along 2012 and 2013 when compared to this year, those were not documented by the EU in a progress report at the time, she said.

In its report, the EU criticized Turkey about the dramatic curtailing of press freedoms, as well as significant shortcomings affecting the independence of the judiciary.

Turkey should become engaged in a reform process that would lessen such criticisms, the minister said.

“I believe that the criticisms in the progress report indicate a significant breaking point in regards to Turkey’s future – in the positive sense,” she said. 

The European Commission also called on the Turkish government to resume a long-stalled process aimed at ending the three-decade conflict between security forces and militants of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

“I consider it as a well-intended initiative. I regard this as a nice warning,” Dedeoğlu said regarding the call by the EU.

“The way to get out of an environment of violence is this and similar processes of dialogue. This reform process cannot be realized without language that will ease conflict. Such a way will probably be followed,” she said.