Turkey's EU minister calls for ‘constructive’ report
‘Report stresses the opening of new negotiation chapters,’ EU minister says. AA PhotoEU Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu has refrained from making any bold statements about a resolution recent passed by the European Parliament’s Committee on Foreign Affairs, simply saying that Turkey “deserves the acceleration of its EU membership negotiations.”
In a resolution passed on March 3, MEPs expressed deep concern at recent developments in Turkey concerning allegations of high-level corruption and stressed that constitutional reform must remain the top priority for modernization and democratization.
In response, Çavuşoğlu told reporters on March 4 that the European Parliament’s assessments of Turkey “should be balanced and constructive,” but welcomed the resolution’s call for negotiation talks to be accelerated.
“Certainly there are points [in the resolution] that we don’t agree on, but in general we find it positive that the report stresses the opening of new negotiation chapters and calls for talks to be accelerated. We always take notice of constructive criticism,” he said.
The resolution expresses concern over the removal of the prosecutors and police officers in charge of the original corruption investigations and calls on the authorities to ensure the proper functioning of the Court of Auditors, stressing the vital importance of an independent judiciary and the separation of powers. It also underlines Turkey’s importance as a strategic partner of the European Union and expresses unease at the lack of progress with constitutional reform, particularly the suspension of the work of Parliament’s Constitutional Conciliation Committee.
The MEPs said in the resolution that the Council should make efforts toward opening negotiation chapters 23 and 24, on the judiciary and fundamental rights and on justice and home affairs.
They also stated their deep concern at the new Internet restriction laws, “which introduce excessive controls and monitoring of Internet access, and the new judiciary laws, which could lead Turkey away from meeting the Copenhagen criteria for EU accession.”