23rd Jan 2019

No 'fatigue' between Turkey and the EU

Ankara and Brussels have denied claims that there has been "some fatigue" or "not a good atmosphere" between the EU and Turkey, as suggested by a Luxembourg Presidency official.

Speaking to the NTV channel prior to his meeting with Turkish representatives on Monday (28 February) in Ankara, Nicolas Schmit, the Luxembourg Minister Delegate for Foreign Affairs, raised doubts about Ankara's determination to join the union, saying, "after the Brussels summit there has been some fatigue".

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"We cannot say there is a very good atmosphere in EU-Turkey relations", he added.

However, both the European Commission's spokesperson and a Turkish spokesman have denied that the climate has changed between Brussels and Ankara since the EU summit in December, where Turkey was given the green light for EU talks to start on 3 October.

"Our foreign minister made it clear after talking to Mr Schmit that there had not been such a situation", Engin Solakoglu from the Turkish Mission told the EUobserver.

He suggested that the concerns raised by Turkey concerning the fair treatment of Ankara by the EU during the membership talks were in line with what Turkey had been saying since 1999, when it became an EU candidate country.

Turkey and the EU are set to hold talks next week on the technical preparation of the negotiation process. According to diplomatic sources quoted by Turkish media, Ankara insisted that the framework for the negotiations should be no different from those of other candidate countries.

Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gül said on Monday he hoped the EU would have the main documents on Turkey's negotiations ready without delay.

Turkish officials also deny that attempts by Ukraine to start EU membership talks are concerning the country.

No Eurovision contest between Turkey and Ukraine

Ankara has watched with delight rather than any concern the efforts made by Ukraine's leaders in their bid to join the EU, according to Mr Solakoglu.

The fact that some commentators have suggested that Ukraine is likely to be more acceptable to the European public has not changed this attitude, he pointed out.

"Regarding the institutions, there is nothing comparable between Turkey and Ukraine at the moment. We have our own process - recognized as a candidate country - and Ukraine has its own".

"EU enlargement is not a Eurovision song contest, so why should we be bothered by this? Ukraine is not an alternative for Turkey, and Turkey is not an alternative for Ukraine".


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