‘Small countries join EU, big countries bargain’

‘Small countries join EU, big countries bargain’

VIENNA / JAKARTA - Anatolia News Agency
‘Small countries join EU, big countries bargain’

Abdullah Gül. REUTERS photo

Small countries were joining the European Union while big countries were bargaining, Turkey’s president said late Dec. 9 after Turkey’s disappointment in not progressing in its EU bid while Croatia signed its accession treaty. 

“Small countries are joining the EU, but big countries are bargaining,” Gül said at the fourth World Policy Conference in Vienna, Austria. 

Gül’s remarks came after Croatia, whose negotiation process with the union began at the same time as Turkey, signed an accession treaty with the EU. Croatia will become EU’s 28th member in July 2013. 
Gül said Turkey’s real goal was to conclude the negotiation process successfully, and then it may decide not to join the union, just like Norway. When asked how many EU member countries were also members of the G-20, Gül said “Only three or four of them, and therefore this should be evaluated well.” 

Turkey is a member of G-20 and became an EU candidate country in December 1999. The union launched accession talks with Turkey on Oct. 3, 2005. The EU has so far opened 13 of the 35 chapter headings to negotiations with Turkey.

Meanwhile, Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç said Dec. 10 from Indonesia where he was attending the fourth Bali Democracy Forum that they would ask about the EU membership issue to the Turkish people. 

“Turkey wants to join the EU… We have been given many obstacles… But the EU is not a single choice for Turkey. We will ask about the EU membership issue to our people,” Arınç said during a meeting with Indonesian media representatives. 

The EU was not sine qua non for Turkey, Arınç said, and Turkey had a model partnership with the U.S. as well as Asia and Africa. Turkey recently opened 30 embassies in Africa, he said.