No: 230, 09 December 2009, Press Release Regarding the Conclusions of the General Affairs Council (GAC) Released on 8 December 2009

The negotiation process, which started on 3 October 2005 in line with the decision of the European Council dated 17 December 2004, continues uninterruptedly towards the goal of full membership on the basis of the EU’s unanimously taken decisions and the Negotiating Framework.

By referring to the December 2006 and December 2008 European Council Conclusions as well as the Negotiating Framework, the Conclusions of the General Affairs Council (GAC) released today reiterate that Turkey is in the EU’s forthcoming enlargement strategy and confirm the goal of accession.

The GAC Conclusions, among other issues, mention recent positive developments in the reform process and commend our active foreign policy.

Nevertheless, despite the intensive and well-intended efforts of the Swedish Presidency and other Council members cognizant of the importance of Turkey’s EU membership and the current expectations for the successful completion of the ongoing negotiations between two leaders on the Island, the shortsightedness of one member state is reflected in some areas of the Conclusions, which are incompatible with international law. We share our views on this issue with our friends in the EU and we will naturally continue to do so. Indeed, it is unfortunate that the GAC Conclusions do not openly commend Turkey’s support to the ongoing negotiations on the Island and silence has been kept on the issue of chapters unjustly suspended by some Member States.

On the other hand, while the decision of the EU Council of 26 April 2004 to put an end to the isolations imposed on the TRNC has not been fully implemented and the commitments in this respect have not been respected, it is clear that making demands from Turkey on the issue of the Additional Protocol is unfair.

It has once again become evident how essential it is to implement the Commission view that there is need to consider bilateral relations and the enlargement process separately.

Turkey’s final goal is full membership. It will continue its path toward this aim with determination.