Report on EU bid reaffirms Turkey’s reform will: state minister

TURKEY

A recent report by former senior leaders in Europe that urged European Union (EU) to accelerate Turkey’s accession talks has reaffirmed the Turkish government’s determination to carry out reforms, a Turkish state minister told the semi-official Anatolia news agency Monday, Xinhua informed.

State Minister Egemen Bagis, who is also the chief negotiator for Turkey’s EU talks, said the report by the Independent Commission on Turkey was a strong response to those who were trying to make Turkey forget EU’s legal liabilities. 

The report, released earlier Monday, warned EU countries of losing reputation as a reliable global partner by slowing accession talks with Turkey as some EU nations were hostile to Turkey’s bid or opposed its full membership. Nobody had the right to prevent Turkey and the EU from building their common future, Bagis was quoted by the agency as saying. “There are circles with common sense in Europe, and I am sure that common sense will defeat the bigotry regarding Turkey in Europe,” he said.

Monday’s report indicated that Turkey was not being treated fairly and called on all EU member countries to keep to their commitments, said Bagis.

The Independent Commission on Turkey, led by Nobel Peace Prize winner and former Finnish President Martti Ahtisaari, also noted in the report that Turkey had to carry out more economic and political reforms to encourage EU support. Bagis said his meetings with members of the commission strengthened his belief that Turkey would become an EU full member sooner or later.

The Commission, supported by the British Council and the Open Society Foundation (Turkey), includes Ahtisaari, former French Prime Minister Michel Rocard, former Dutch Foreign Minister Hans van den Broek, former Spanish Foreign Minister Marcelino Oreja Aguirre and other statesmen.

Turkey became an EU candidate country in December 1999 and began EU accession talks in October 2005. It has only formally opened talks on 11 chapters out of 35 that are needed to be finished before it entry to the EU.

France and Germany prefer a close partnership with Turkey instead of granting full membership to the predominantly Muslim country.

The EU has been requiring Turkey to speed up reforms to improve human rights and democracy, while Turkey’s territorial dispute with the EU member Cyprus has also stalled its accession talks.

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