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Turkish envoy hopes for resumption of relations if EU has ‘vision’

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Turkey’s permanent delegate to the European Union, Faruk Kaymakcı, expressed hope for a resumption of relations between Turkey and the EU, but he criticized what he called a “lack of vision » within the EU in terms of Turkey’s membership.

Turkey announced plans to restart the stalled process last summer, but a scathing report from the European Parliament, apparently opposed to full membership, put a new obstacle in the path to membership. Ankara complains that Turkey meets most of the membership criteria.

“Turkey is the most valuable country for EU membership. The EU lacks vision if it does not take this into account,” Kaymakcı told Anadolu Agency (AA) on Monday. He said Turkey and the EU had important meetings in October and November and the likelihood of a resumption was more likely.

Kaymakcı highlighted that several factors such as post-Covid-19 economic recovery, elections in Turkey and Greece, the Russian-Ukrainian conflict, the need for “interconnection” and green and digital transformation provide an opportunity for recovery. He said the EU was once again taking the bloc’s expansion more seriously, particularly in the Western Balkans, Ukraine and Moldova. He said Turkey had been a “candidate country” since 1999. “We are seeing a selective memory process in recent discussions on expansion. Some people forget Turkey’s status,” he said.

He stressed that Turkey should be treated fairly and equitably, like other candidate countries. “Once this is done, Turkey will accelerate its reform process (with a view to joining the EU).”

He said a new era was beginning in relations at a time of easing tensions in the Eastern Mediterranean and two meetings of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis. Both countries have expressed interest in putting a hostile past behind them and indicated that a high-level meeting between the two neighbors was planned for next year. Greece was among the countries opposed to Turkey’s membership in the past.

The EU is ready to engage with Turkey for a “constructive relationship for shared prosperity and stability”, an EU official said on Monday.

Speaking to journalists at the European Commission’s daily press briefing, Ana Pisonero, spokesperson for enlargement, confirmed that the EU “has a strategic interest in continuing cooperative and mutually beneficial relations with Turkey and all its inhabitants.

She reaffirmed the bloc’s desire “to engage with Turkey to move towards a constructive relationship for shared prosperity and stability” based on “commitments to human rights, the rule of law, international law and stability for the benefit of all our citizens.”

Pisonero also stressed that EU-Turkey cooperation supports a “stable and secure environment in the Eastern Mediterranean.”

Following the request of the EU leaders’ summit in June, the European Commission is currently working on a “report on the state of relations between the EU and Turkey” which will be published later this autumn, he said. she adds.

Turkey applied for EU membership in 1987 and its accession negotiations began in 2005, but the EU Council, the EU institution representing member states, decided to suspend negotiations in 2018.

According to Ankara, the negotiations were frozen due to political obstacles from some EU members for reasons unrelated to Turkey’s suitability for EU membership.

“If they reverse their injustices, including the imposition of visas, which they use as a veiled sanction against us, they will correct their own mistakes,” President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said in a speech on Sunday, referring to a promise made in 2016 by the EU under a deal on migrants to remove the requirement for Turkish citizens visiting EU countries to obtain visas.

“If they do not do this, they will completely lose the right to expect anything from us politically, socially, economically or militarily,” Erdoğan warned.

Although the EU leadership has changed over the years, there has been no change in the EU’s “biased attitude towards Turkey, which is unfair and incompatible with the principle pacta sunt servanda”, or agreements must be respected, he added.

“Turkey has no expectations from the EU, whose door we have been waiting for 60 years,” he said.

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