Turkish EU minister urges Brussels for ‘constructive criticism’

Turkish EU minister urges Brussels for ‘constructive criticism’

Turkish EU minister urges Brussels for ‘constructive criticism’

EU Minister Volkan Bozkır (R) speaks during a press conference. AA Photo

The European Union’s criticism of Turkey should always have a “constructive” nature, Turkish EU Minister Volkan Bozkır has said, ahead of the publication of the annual EU “progress report” on the state of human rights and democratization in Turkey.

“There will surely be criticisms, but they should be constructive, rightful and should be expressed in a correct manner. We would have difficulty welcoming the report if it is prepared in a manner that would upset us. But I think we will have no such problem,” Bozkır told reporters on Oct. 2.

The report will be revealed on Oct. 8 in Brussels and is expected to contain serious criticisms of the state of Turkey’s democratization process, as well as violations of human rights. In recent months the government has come under fire for alleged attempts to undermine the principle of separation of powers and restricting the Internet, which are regarded major violations of EU norms.

Bozkır expressed his hope that the report will “contribute” to Ankara-Brussels relations and to Turkey’s accession process, saying his ministry was in close talks with EU officials over the matter. He will also hold a press conference on the same day of the release of the EU report, during which he will express Ankara’s views on it.

“The official picture shows that 14 [accession] chapters have been opened and one of them has been closed. But as a result of our own works, the real picture shows that 27 or 28 chapters have been opened and 13 or 14 of them have been closed,” Bozkır said, challenging the EU’s official position on Turkey’s work to fulfill the accession requirements.

He added that if blockages over the Cyprus problem are removed, Turkey could open 10 chapters within just a few months.