Sunday

21st Apr 2019

Turkey pledges to stick with pro-EU reforms

Turkey has announced it will stick to a pro-active EU strategy despite the bloc's move to partially freeze Ankara's membership talks over the Cyprus dispute, suggesting it would introduce reforms even in areas under the chapters to be temporarily shelved by the EU.

"If the goal is to reach European standards, then we will do it ourselves without the EU asking for it," Turkish foreign minister Abdullah Gul said on Monday (25 December), according to press reports.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

Ankara's plan has been eagerly awaited in Europe after EU political leaders confirmed the temporary suspension of eight out of 35 negotiating chapters of the country's accession talks in Brussels at the mid-December summit.

With the first reactions by Turkey's politicians suggesting they regarded the decision as unacceptable and popular support for EU membership falling, some feared the latest stand-off would seriously harm the country's reform process.

But Mr Gul insisted his government would implement changes as outlined in the EU's preliminary screening process in all areas without waiting for extra instructions from Brussels.

"It is not possible for us to accept the EU acting in a way that is contrary to the core and spirit of our relations by hiding behind various excuses such as the Cyprus issue," the foreign minister told a gathering of Turkey's main business groups last week, according to AFP agency.

He was referring to the main reason behind the EU's move - Turkey's opposition to open its ports and airspace to Cypriot ships and planes as required by a protocol Ankara had signed before starting the accession talks last October.

"We are committed to our target of full membership. The reform process will continue as before," Gul said, adding "it's out of question to abandon our struggle."

EU member states' representatives in Brussels last week formally invited Ankara to open talks on the industry and enterprise chapter while the European Commission suggested three other chapters Ankara could unveil straight away.

However, under the agreed rules, negotiations can not be provisionally closed in any area until Turkey fulfills its Cyprus-related obligations while the Greek Cypriot government of the divided island has warned it could also block the opening of some chapters if Ankara sticks to its position.

Tensions mount over Kosovo-Serbia deal

Serbia will never recognise Kosovo, Serbia's foreign minister has said, as the Western Balkans heads into a new period of turbulence.

Opinion

EU should brace for a more authoritarian Erdogan

The new blend of religious nationalism will be more anti-West and anti-EU, as Brussels has anything but leverage on Turkey. The first signs of this strong rhetoric are already visible.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Counter BalanceSign the petition to help reform the EU’s Bank
  2. UNICEFChild rights organisations encourage candidates for EU elections to become Child Rights Champions
  3. UNESDAUNESDA Outlines 2019-2024 Aspirations: Sustainability, Responsibility, Competitiveness
  4. Counter BalanceRecord citizens’ input to EU bank’s consultation calls on EIB to abandon fossil fuels
  5. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual EU-Turkmenistan Human Rights Dialogue takes place in Ashgabat
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNew campaign: spot, capture and share Traces of North
  7. Nordic Council of MinistersLeading Nordic candidates go head-to-head in EU election debate
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Secretary General: Nordic co-operation must benefit everybody
  9. Platform for Peace and JusticeMEP Kati Piri: “Our red line on Turkey has been crossed”
  10. UNICEF2018 deadliest year yet for children in Syria as war enters 9th year
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic commitment to driving global gender equality
  12. International Partnership for Human RightsMeet your defender: Rasul Jafarov leading human rights defender from Azerbaijan

Latest News

  1. Romania drafts EU code on NGO migrant rescues
  2. Bulgaria, Hungary, and Malta shamed on press unfreedom
  3. EU drafts $20bn US sanctions list in aviation dispute
  4. Brunei defends stoning to death of gay men in EU letter
  5. US Democrats side with Ireland on Brexit
  6. Wifi or 5G to connect EU cars? MEPs weigh in
  7. How Brexit may harm the new EU parliament
  8. EU parliament backs whistleblower law

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us