Turkey launches Irish EU presidency early

Turkey launches Irish EU presidency early

Turkey launches Irish EU presidency early

Preparations for the presidency of Ireland have already begun, European Union Minister Egemen Bağış says at a meeting. DHA photo

The Council of the European Union term presidency of Ireland has already begun from the Turkish point of view, regardless of the official onset date of Jan. 1, 2013, Turkey’s chief EU negotiator has said. Egeman Bağış added that communication and cooperation with the upcoming presidency has already been started.

“From our point of view, the Irish presidency will maybe last longer compared to other presidencies. Perhaps we can interpret this presidency as being a year instead of six months. This is because, rather than the current presidency, we have already begun the preparations for the presidency of Ireland,” European Union Minister Bağış said at a meeting with his Irish counterpart, Lucinda Creighton, on July 10.

Bağış, who attended the meeting wearing a necktie that had been custom-made for the 2004 presidency of Ireland, said, “As you can see, we have already started preparations for Ireland’s presidency.”

‘Transformation process still in progress in Turkey’

The situations of Turkey and Ireland on the edges of the European continent have accommodated their current positions in the center of unique opportunities, and this has been advantageous for the continent as a whole, he said. “Recent times have turned out to be increasingly in favor of Turkey’s EU membership.”

Creighton, who spoke of the transformation they have witnessed in Eastern European and Balkan countries during the EU membership process, said this process of transformation was still in progress in Turkey. Creighton said that for full EU membership, the complete implementation of the acquis of EU was required. “The EU process has helped the improvement of several aspects of the Turkish agenda such as the achievement of civilian control over security forces, judicial reform, religious freedom, and the legislative protection of fundamental human rights.”

Creighton said Ireland would take over the presidency of the EU Council next year. “As the EU President, we will continue to passionately pursue the expansion strategy adopted by the EU. The support given by the Irish government for Turkey’s full membership will continue. I hope that our presidency will support Turkey’s goal of membership.”