Sunday

23rd Sep 2018

British queen praises Turkey's EU credentials

The British queen has praised Turkey's EU membership credentials on a rare state visit, amid pageantry reflecting the country's mixture of Islamic and western traditions.

"Turkey is uniquely positioned as a bridge between east and west at a crucial time for the European Union and the world in general," the monarch said at a banquet in Ankara on Tuesday (13 May).

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

  • The queen had not been to Turkey since 1971 (Photo: wikipedia)

"The prospect of accession to the European Union has already helped to inspire changes that are improving the lives of its citizens," she added, calling Turkey a "confident and dynamic democracy."

Her unusually political speech - delivered alongside British foreign minister David Milliband - stressed that "Turkey is as important now as it has ever been" to the UK, mentioning the country's "strategic location" and its role "in promoting secure supplies of energy."

"The United Kingdom has become one of our most loyal supporters in Turkey's march toward membership of the European Union," Turkish president Abdullah Gul said at the dinner, AP reports.

The carefully orchestrated event saw Mr Gul wearing a western-style tuxedo as the queen made him an honorary knight grand cross of the civil division of the most honourable order of the bath - a British gesture of respect.

But the president's wife wore an Islamic headscarf, highlighting the current Turkish government's religious beliefs despite official restrictions against religious symbols at state events.

Queen Elizabeth II's four day-trip will see her visit the Green Mosque complex in Bursa on Wednesday and host a cocktail party on board a British warship stationed near Istanbul on Thursday.

It is her first visit to Turkey since 1971, eight years after the country first became an "associate member" of the EU in 1963.

The country opened formal EU accession talks in 2005, but progress stalled in 2006 due to a political dispute with EU member Cyprus, with eight of the 35 accession treaty "chapters" still frozen.

EU giants France and Germany openly oppose Turkish membership, calling for a "privileged partnership" with Ankara instead.

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. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSThe vital bioeconomy. New issue of “Sustainable Growth the Nordic Way” out now
  2. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSThe Nordic gender effect goes international
  3. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSPaula Lehtomaki from Finland elected as the Council's first female Secretary General
  4. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSNordic design sets the stage at COP24, running a competition for sustainable chairs.
  5. Counter BalanceIn Kenya, a motorway funded by the European Investment Bank runs over roadside dwellers
  6. ACCACompany Law Package: Making the Best of Digital and Cross Border Mobility,
  7. IPHRCivil Society Worried About Shortcomings in EU-Kyrgyzstan Human Rights Dialogue
  8. UNESDAThe European Soft Drinks Industry Supports over 1.7 Million Jobs
  9. Mission of China to the EUJointly Building Belt and Road Initiative Leads to a Better Future for All
  10. IPHRCivil society asks PACE to appoint Rapporteur to probe issue of political prisoners in Azerbaijan
  11. ACCASocial Mobility – How Can We Increase Opportunities Through Training and Education?
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersEnergy Solutions for a Greener Tomorrow

Latest News

  1. Brexit and MEPs expenses in the spotlight This WEEK
  2. Wake-up call on European Day Against Islamophobia
  3. Sound of discord at 'Sound of Music' Salzburg summit
  4. Salzburg summit presses for bigger Frontex mandate
  5. UK's post-Brexit plan 'will not work', EU says
  6. Airbnb agrees to clarify pricing for EU
  7. Libya keeps coast guards rejected by the EU
  8. EU divisions on menu at Salzburg dinner

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us