Turkey determined to join EU despite obstacles: Erdoğan
Despite double standards and obstacles, Turkey maintains its decisive attitude to join the European Union, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said, criticizing Brussels for not inviting the candidate nations to a conference on the future of Europe in a written message on Europe Day.
“Turkey keeps its determined stance and efforts towards its strategic goal of European Union membership, despite the double standards and obstacles it faces. Turkey’s membership will pave the way for the rise of a Europe that is more effective at regional and global levels, gives hope not only to its citizens, but also to the people of its neighborhood as well as the whole world,” read Erdoğan’s statement.
Recalling that Turkey has been celebrating May 9, the announcement of the Schuman Declaration as “Europe Day” since the approval of its candidacy to EU membership in 1999, Erdoğan stated that the EU has made significant contributions to the establishment of peace, stability and prosperity in our continent and beyond.
“However, the Union has been recently facing numerous challenges such as the refugee crisis, Islamophobia and xenophobia, financial and fiscal fragilities, the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the membership and the coronavirus pandemic. Overcoming these problems, that threaten the Union and its future, is dependent on solidarity, cooperation and regaining a brave and inclusive perspective,” he suggested.
The EU’s major obstacle in the path of being a strong global actor is the lack of strategic patience and vision and it needs to review its decision-making mechanisms, a new institutional structure, a new vision, and a new inclusive discourse, Erdoğan said.
“To this end, ‘Conference on the Future of Europe’ which initiated today, has started with a right assessment, however it has already narrowed down the debates by not inviting candidate countries,” he underlined.
“Turkey, as a part of Europe in terms of historical, geographical and human aspects, is ready to do its part in the resolution of the problems that the European Union has faced and increasing the effectiveness of the Union. It is obvious that the Union cannot endure strongly, without the contribution and the support of our country.”
Erdoğan slammed the EU for not keeping promises regarding Turkey’s accession process, saying, “Some member states carried their bilateral problems with Turkey to the EU corridors and, hence, Turkey-European Union relations were captured and the Union’s capacity to fight against global challenges has weakened. We wish that the European Union will demonstrate its ability to develop its relations with Turkey based on mutual respect and trust, with a strategic point of view and common sense.”
Refugee deal and positive dialogue
In a separate statement, the Turkish deputy foreign minister responsible for EU affairs, Faruk Kaymakçı, underscored that Turkey wants an update of the 2016 refugee deal with the EU and the continuation of positive relations with the bloc.
Noting that Turkey has been one of the founding members of the Council of Europe, Kaymakçı said that the country’s Europeanness is not only through the EU, to which it has officially been a candidate since 1999.
Evaluating the Turkish people’s perspective on the EU, he reiterated that the overwhelming majority of the population supports membership to the bloc and believes that the country has the potential to be a full member.
“Turkey wants to proceed to the positive agenda after the EU Summit in June 2021, if not earlier than that date. By positive agenda, we refer to the updated March 18, 2016 refugee deal with them,” he noted.
Stressing on Turkey’s anticipation for improvement in all domains of Turkish-EU relations, Kaymakçı said: “We hope that the EU leadership wouldn’t sacrifice relations to the Cyprus issue and the maximalist and unreasonable demands [of some countries].”