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No: 234, 10 October 2012, Press Release Regarding Turkey 2012 Progress Report and Enlargement Strategy of the EU Commission

Turkey 2012 Progress Report and Enlargement Strategy of the EU Commission are published today (10 October 2012).

The Progress Reports, prepared by the EU Commission, are one of the important instruments in the follow up of our accession process to the EU. Therefore, as in previous years, we carefully examine the conclusions in the Report and share our views with the Commission in detail. Undoubtedly, the Progress Report will contribute to Turkey-EU relations, including our accession process to the extent it is fair and balanced.

The on-going political reforms including steps such as the work on a new constitution, the 3rd Judicial Reform Package, establishment of the Ombudsman’s office, the reference to Turkey as a key country for the EU with its dynamic economy, strategic location and important regional role, the significant intensification in political dialogue with the EU on foreign and security policy, continued strong economic growth, Turkey’s functioning market economy, the progress in its ability to take on the obligations of membership in terms of harmonization with the EU acquis, are the main positive aspects expressed by the Commission in the said documents. Furthermore, reminding that PKK is in the EU’s list of terrorist organizations, it is also underlined that all terrorist attacks are condemned by the EU.

However, we note that, as in previous years, in both documents, focus and stress are on negative elements rather than the positive ones. As it stands, the Report is unbalanced.

The Commission also draws attention to improving dialogue and cooperation in the fields of justice and home affairs, and emphasizes the importance of the signature of the Readmission Agreement that was initialled by Turkey and the EU in the context of combating illegal immigration. Our understanding is that this issue should be carried forward simultaneous to steps to be taken by the EU on providing visa liberalisation for our citizens. Indeed, our position has been communicated to the EU side at all levels.

On the other hand, Turkey’s constructive approach to the Cyprus issue is well-known. Turkey exerted every effort for a comprehensive settlement in the Island. We are pleased that Turkey’s continuous and clear support to the negotiation process is highlighted in the Report. However, while stating that the negotiations reached a deadlock, it is a serious deficiency that the EU Commission does not mention the responsibility of the Greek Cypriot side on this negative outcome. We expect the EU to contribute to a solution rather than being a party to the Cyprus problem imported into its midst as a result of its own mistake. This can only be possible if it revises its discriminatory and biased attitude.

The reiteration of the expectation for “the normalization of our bilateral relations” with the Greek Cypriot Administration reflects nothing but disregard of our position and of the political realities. In this vein, the repetition of the approach of presenting some of our statements as “threat” is unacceptable.

Turkey continues its efforts aimed at EU membership with determination. Our reforms will continue on the basis of the needs and expectations of the Turkish people. The Turkish Grand National Assembly started its new legislative year on 1 October 2012.

Our relations with the EU, that have a history of almost 50 years, are multi-faceted and deep-rooted. Maintaining and further developing these relations is our main goal. It is also important that the EU, based on its commitments, and with common sense and far-sightedness, take the necessary steps to successfully finalize our accession process in line with our common interests.