Lifting of EU’s financial assistance ‘meaningless’ for Turkey: EU minister

Lifting of EU’s financial assistance ‘meaningless’ for Turkey: EU minister

Lifting of EU’s financial assistance ‘meaningless’ for Turkey: EU minister

The European Union’s intention to remove pre-accession financial assistance to Turkey “does not mean anything” for Ankara, EU Minister Ömer Çelik said on Oct. 25.

“But the expression of it is something that degrades the EU’s reputation,” Çelik told state-run Anadolu Agency.

Referring to German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s remarks, he said “those who voice the intention to suspend accession talks with Turkey” are also degrading the EU’s reputation.

Çelik criticized Germany for its stance before its September federal elections in which it “gave orders to the EU institutions.”

Germany turns its bilateral issues with Turkey into an issue between Ankara and Brussels, Çelik said, claiming that this “empowers far-right rhetoric.”

His statement comes days after German Chancellor Angela Merkel asked her fellow leaders to cut Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance (IPA) for Turkey.

On Oct. 16, EU Foreign Policy Chief Federica Mogherini said the bloc would strengthen cooperation with Turkey on issues “related to regional dynamics.”

Speaking to journalists before a foreign affairs meeting in Luxembourg, Federica Mogherini said they will discuss how the EU and Turkey can “coordinate better” on Syria and Iraq.

The minister described the EU’s plans suggesting a privileged partnership as an “indecent proposal” and vowed Turkey would not even discuss such an offer.

Çelik recalled last week’s remarks made by the EU’s Commissioner for Enlargement, Johannes Hahn, which implied such a partnership.

If the EU plans to freeze the accession process with Turkey but wants to continue cooperation on energy, economy and transportation, opening new areas of collaboration, that will not be the case for Ankara, the minister said.

These dialogue areas are all complementary to Turkey’s accession process, he noted.