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No: 278, 14 December 2010, Press Release Regarding the Conclusions of the General Affairs Council (GAC)

The accession negotiations, which started in 2005 continue on the basis of the decisions taken unanimously by EU member countries and towards the goal of full membership. The determination of our Government as to advancing the negotiation process and continuing with the reforms grows stronger with the support of our people.

In the Conclusions of the General Affairs Council (GAC) released today, the strong support for taking the enlargement process forward on the basis of the agreed principles and decisions is reaffirmed. This indicates the countries which will take part in the future of Europe, whose unification is yet to be completed. Turkey is naturally included in this process.

The Conclusions praise Turkey’s commitment to the negotiation process and the progress achieved in the field of political reforms, particularly the Constitutional amendment package. In addition, it is registered once again that PKK is on the EU list of terrorist organizations.

Furthermore, while referring to Turkey’s active foreign policy, the role which Turkey and the EU can play together in this field is emphasized. In this context Turkey, as a future member country, also expresses that further enhancing and intensifying the strategic dialogue and consultations with Turkey on the EU’s foreign and security policies would contribute to the implementation of the EU’s policies in the relevant regions.

The ongoing direct negotiations between the two leaders in Cyprus, the recently increased efforts by the UN Secretary General for a successful outcome of this process, and Turkey’s constructive and encouraging stance to that end are well known. Despite this fact, it is observed that the text contains expressions which are incompatible with international law due to the irrational attitude displayed by one member state again this year. In view of the fact that the place for the settlement of the Cyprus issue is not the EU Council Conclusions but the ongoing comprehensive negotiations conducted under the good offices mission of the UN Secretary General, it is our genuine expectation from our EU member friends to strongly support the process.

Our position on the Readmission Agreement is clear. In the context of the negotiations which we have continued with good faith, the conclusion and initialing of the Readmission Agreement should be carried out in parallel to the initiation of the visa dialogue process between Turkey and the EU Commission towards a visa free regime. Our expectation is well known by our EU partners. Turkey is determined to progress the deliberations regarding the Readmission Agreement in line with this understanding.

Turkey will continue and intensify its efforts towards its final goal, which is EU membership.