Article by Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu published in Lidové Noviny, 7 June 2022 Article by Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu published on the occasion of 25 May Africa Day Article by Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu published in La Estrella de Panamá, 28 April 2022 Article by Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu published in El Telégrafo Ecuador, 26 April 2022 Article by Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu published in Brasilian newspaper “Folha De S.Paulo”, 25 April 2022 Article by Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu published in Sri Lankan newspapers titled ''Time to Work for a New Impetus in Türkiye-Sri Lanka Relations'', 28 January 2022 Article by Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu titled “Why Should We Fight Against FETO Resolutely?”, 15 July 2021 Article by Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu published on the occasion of 25 May Africa Day Article by Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu titled “Our Preference in Eastern Mediterranean is Diplomacy without Preconditions” published in Kathimerini, 15 September 2020 Article by Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu titled “We Face a New-Generation Terrorist Group” published in Daily Sabah, 16 July 2020 Article by Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu titled “EU-Turkey relations are strained but we have common ground to build on” published in Politico, 13 July 2020 Article by H.E. Mr. Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu titled ''Union With Africa Is Now More Essential Than Ever'' published on various African media outlets on the occasion of the Day of Africa, 25 May 2020 Portuguese Article by H.E. Mr. Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu published in The Washington Times titled “What We Do Today Will Define Tomorrow”, 2 April 2020 Article by H.E. Mr. Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu published in the Financial Times titled 'EU inaction on Syrian refugees is a stain on human conscience', 22 March 2020 Article by H.E. Mr. Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu published in Bild titled “Europe Should Finally Wake Up From Its Long Sleep”, 5 March 2020 Article by H.E. Mr. Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu published in The New York Times titled “Why Turkey Took the Fight to Syria”, 11 October 2019 Article by H.E. Mr. Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Turkey, published in “Kıbrıs Postası” on 14 July 2019 Article by H.E. Mr. Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu published in Politico Europe titled “Let’s put Turkey’s EU membership back on track”, 14 May 2019 Article by H.E. Mr. Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu published in The Washington Times titled “One for all, all for one in challenging times”, 4 April 2019 Article by H.E. Mr. Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu titled “Seeking Peace Needs an Enterprising Foreign Policy”, published on the occasion of the Second OIC Member States Conference on Mediation and the Fifth Istanbul Mediation Conference, 29 November 2018 Article by H.E. Mr. Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu published in The Washington Post titled “The U.S. must stop arming terrorists in Syria”, 28 September 2018 Foreign Minister Çavuşoğlu’s op-ed published in “USA Today” on the self defeating nature of US sanctions, 20 August 2018 Article by H.E. Mr. Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu titled “Turkey and Africa are building a solid partnership”, published on the occasion of 25 May Africa Day Article by H.E. Mr. Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu published in Foreign Policy titled “The Meaning of Operation Olive Branch”, 5 April 2018 Article by H.E. Mr. Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, Minister of Foreign Affairs published in Le Monde titled “Turkey: The best ally for the security of Europe”, 20 March 2018 Article by H.E. Mr. Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu published in The Telegraph titled “Time to bust the myths about Turkey. Europe couldn't do without us”, 2 March 2018 Article by H.E. Mr. Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu Published in The New York Times Titled “America Has Chosen the Wrong Partner”, 28 January 2018 Article by H.E. Mr. Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu published in Newsweek, 10 January 2018 Article by H.E. Mr. Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu Published in El Mercurio (Chile), 30 October 2017
Article by H.E. Mr. Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu published in Politico Europe titled “Let’s put Turkey’s EU membership back on track”, 14 May 2019

Also available in the following languages: Spanish. German.

Some 30 years ago, on the occasion of Turkey’s formal membership application to the EU, then Prime Minister Turgut Özal likened the process of joining the bloc to “a long and narrow road,” referring to a famous verse by the folk-poet Aşık Veysel. Time has proven that the road has, indeed, been not just long and narrow, but also bumpy.

Turkey-EU relations were overshadowed in the 1980s by the aftermath of the military coup, in the 1990s by the exclusion of Turkey from the fifth enlargement wave of the EU and most recently, in 2016, by the July 15 coup attempt. Yet, each time the relationship showed resilience against interruptions and found a way out. Today, we find ourselves in a similarly unpromising situation. Yet, once again, I have no doubt that we will manage to come to agreement with our European friends to put Turkey’s EU process back on track.

I have three strong reasons to believe so. First of all, we are leaving behind the difficult times that followed the 2016 attempted coup. As a founding member of the Council of Europe, Turkey has carried out its post-coup measures in line with the rule of law and international norms. Those who criticized Turkey on the measures taken miss the point that this was not a simple political matter but an existential issue for Turkish democracy. They also fail to fully appreciate the trauma that the attempt caused.

The EU process is unmistakably at the top of our government’s agenda. We ended the state of emergency in July 2018. After a break of two and a half years, we reconvened the Reform Action Group composed of key ministers, with the objective of rejuvenating political reforms.

Meanwhile, the movement to the presidential system of government has brought faster decision-making and less bureaucracy, allowing reforms to be accelerated. The “100-Day Action Plan” announced by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan includes measures with regard to Chapter 23 of the accession negotiations on Judiciary and Fundamental Rights and Chapter 24 on Justice, Freedom and Security.

Despite all the challenges in striking a balance between freedom and security in one of the world’s most unstable regions, Turkey has been relentlessly seeking to consolidate its democracy, as the Turkish nation deserves the highest standards. To that end, Turkey has adopted more than 2,000 pieces of legislation in line with the EU acquis in the last decade — despite the scourge of terrorism, heavy burdens of irregular migration and a bloody coup attempt.

I find it ironic that the EU shies away from opening the negotiation of chapters under which it criticizes Turkey the most, when we have always been sincere in our openness to constructive criticism.

Secondly, the current international context provides strong motives for a closer alliance. The fundamentals of the post-war order are shaking. Assertive unilateralism is replacing rule-based multilateralism, and destabilizing developments on a wide range of issues — including regional politics, trade, environment and security — are harming the interests of the EU and Turkey alike.

In these testing times, the EU and Turkey have common positions on critical matters including the Palestinian issue and the Iran nuclear deal. EU members have expressed their support for the robust diplomatic efforts of Turkey, particularly for the protection of civilians in Syria. In the face of increasing volatilities, Turkey and the EU have much work to do for the security and stability of our Continent and beyond.

Finally, the EU needs Turkey as much as Turkey needs the EU. In his white paper on the future of Europe, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker identified security threats, irregular migration, declining soft power and aging societies as key challenges, which the EU has to tackle. On each and every one of these items, Turkey is already making meaningful contributions to the EU.

By hosting more than 4 million refugees and halting the flow of thousands via the Aegean Sea, Turkey has prevented a major humanitarian crisis in Europe. Even now, the pressure continues. Asylum seekers continue to risk their lives as turmoil continues in their home countries.

On the fight against terrorism, Turkey has been the leading country among coalition members that fight DAESH on the ground. Turkey continues to open its air bases and air space to its coalition partners.

Turning to the financial front, the Turkish financial system and banking sector were resilient enough to counter speculative currency attacks. In 2018, Turkey recorded 2.6 percent growth, despite all the setbacks. We have the youngest society and best services sector in Europe. This list can be extended, but in the context of Brexit, it is fairly easy to see how Turkey fills a substantial EU gap.

Once Turkey becomes a member of the EU, it will significantly contribute to the bloc in a wide range of areas including security, migration, economic dynamism, soft power, social security and energy security. Yet, without a structured relationship and a merit-based accession track, the relation is potentially on the rocks.

I want to call on my colleagues in Brussels and in the EU’s national capitals to return to the spirit of the 1999 Helsinki meeting of the European Council in which Turkey became an official candidate and the EU became a serious anchor. First and foremost, we should restart the accession negotiations as they form the backbone of our relationship.

We should also launch negotiations to update the customs union, to the benefit of all. After fulfilling the six remaining benchmarks determined in the visa liberalization dialogue, visa-free travel should be granted for Turkish citizens. This step would not just contribute to business and employment; it would also further people-to-people dialogue.

The recent decision of the Supreme Election Council to annul the results of the March 31 municipal election in Istanbul is a final judicial decision taken by an independent body, which has received the praise of European monitoring mechanisms for its previous professional work.

The Council took this decision primarily over the unlawful composition of certain election boards. The rerun is now scheduled for June 23. Turkey is proud of its record of holding free and fair elections, and we will certainly do our utmost to hold the rerun under the highest international standards.

After that final poll, we will have an election-free period of roughly four years. Similarly, after the European Parliament election in May, there will be a new term of five years for the EU leadership. We should not let this opportunity pass by untapped.

One must not forget that Turkey has had and continues to simultaneously deal with an attempted coup, terrorist organizations and an influx of refugees. Under normal circumstances, one of these is enough to shake a nation. However, Turkey has seen it all and persevered. All that it wants is some understanding and solidarity in the face of this reality.

Major turning points in recent history — including the 9/11 attacks in the United States, the Arab Spring, the global financial crisis and the refugee crisis — have repeatedly proven the strategic importance of the Turkey-EU relationship. Furthermore, economic, political, security and identity-related matters have demonstrated that Turkey is more than a strategic partner for the EU.

I believe that if Turkey were already a member, we would have been more capable and competent in collectively addressing the challenges of today’s highly volatile world order. Let’s not wait another 30 years.