Turkey must stick to EU membership bid: Deputy PM Şimşek

Turkey must stick to EU membership bid: Deputy PM Şimşek

Turkey must stick to EU membership bid: Deputy PM Şimşek Ankara must stick to its European Union membership target, explain itself in a better way and pass the reforms in order to be able to attract more foreign investment, Deputy Prime Minister Mehmet Şimşek said on May 23. 

Speaking at the International Media Forum in Antalya, Şimşek said Turkey urgently needs to recover its image abroad, in response to a reporter’s question about what the country should do to maintain investor confidence during the ongoing state of emergency. 

“We should also stick to our EU bid. With regard to the rule of law, democratic standards and fundamental freedoms and rights, this is the best way for both Turkey and the EU. What we need to do first of all is to realize more structural reforms,” he said. 

Şimşek stressed that Turkey has faced a series of disastrous incidents, including a coup attempt and bomb attacks, over the past couple of years. 

“Turkey needs to explain why it is in a state of emergency through a good communications plan. In short, what it needs to do is apply a better communication plan, to stick to the EU bid, and to pass more reforms,” he said. 

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan will attend a NATO leaders’ summit this week in Brussels, and is scheduled to hold a meeting with top EU officials prior to the summit on May 25. 

State-run Anadolu Agency on May 23 quoted the Turkish Presidency as stating that they will discuss the current troubled state of Turkey-EU relations and possible upcoming steps toward Turkey’s accession to the bloc. 

Deal with Russia ‘quite satisfying’

In response to a question from a Russian journalist about whether the agreement inked by Turkey and Russia on May 22 to lift bilateral trade barriers is satisfying, Şimşek said it was in the interest of both Ankara and Moscow. 

“We have resolved almost all issues and I believe we are on the right track together. With Russia we are almost back to the pre-November 2015 [downing of the Russian jet by Turkey] situation. This is good news. Russia is a key neighbor and trade partner for us and we want to give a further boost to our ties. We do not want to get caught up on whether or not the deal includes tomatoes. I’m personally quite satisfied with it,” he added. 

Turkey and Russia signed the declaration in Istanbul to remove restrictions on bilateral trade that were imposed after a jet crisis in 2015. Moscow agreed to lift all sanctions imposed on imported items from Turkey apart from tomatoes and its visa restrictions on Turkish citizens.