EU affairs minister says bloc should support Turkey during this difficult period in region.
Turkey’s EU affairs minister has reiterated that his country wants to be a full member of the European Union and will not be open to any other offer apart from that one.
Speaking at the 36th Turkey-EU Joint Advisory Committee in Brussels on Tuesday, Omer Celik said Turkey’s “strategic aim” in the EU accession talks is full membership.
“The EU should support Turkey during this difficult period in the region by understanding the reasons for the fight against terrorism, by providing visa liberalization and especially by accelerating the accession process,” Celik said.
Turkey’s accession talks began in 2005. Negotiations hit a stalemate in 2007 because of Turkey’s position on the Cyprus issue. German and French governments had also opposed the country’s full EU membership.
To gain membership, Turkey has to successfully conclude negotiations with the EU over 35 policy chapters that involve reforms and the adoption of European standards.
Celik said Turkey was ready to open EU chapters 23 and 24 about the judiciary and fundamental rights as well as justice and freedoms.
He said it was “double standard” to criticize Turkey without opening these EU chapters.
Earlier this month, the European Parliament approved a 2016 commission report on Turkey, which called on EU member states to suspend Turkey's long-running accession talks if constitutional changes endorsed in an April 16 referendum went ahead “unchanged”.
The vote was non-binding in terms of the EU decision-making, as the approved version of the report will be sent back to the European Commission to agree on the changes made by the parliament.