Statement By The Government 0f The Republic 0f Turkey On The "Turkish Accession Partnership" Prepared By The Eu Commission (Unofficial Translation) November 9, 2000

As is known, Turkey was recognized as a candidate country on an equal footing with the other candidate countries to the European Union at the Helsinki Summit in December 1999.

The Accession Partnership Document for Turkey was made public yesterday by the European Commission, as it was done for all other candidate countries. The Document defines a strategy outlining what Turkey is required to fulfill as medium and short term priorities in each respective domain for the adoption of the acquis in the accession process.

As is the case for the other candidate countries, the Accession Partnership Document for Turkey is a document prepared unilaterally by the EU Commission. Accession Partnership Documents are in fact not negotiated with candidate countries. Nevertheless, Commission officials have contacted our Government on various occasions and during these contacts, Turkey's views and sensitivities concerning the issues likely to be covered in the Accession Partnership were, each and every time, conveyed to them. It is observed that the wording and the style used in the Helsinki European Council Conclusions for many issues have been preserved in the Accession Partnership Document. Hence, the Document reaffirms components of the political dialogue in accordance with paragraphs 4 and 9a of the Helsinki European Council Conclusions.

The Cyprus issue figuring as among the priorities in the Accession Partnership concerns primarily the two sides on the Island. Turkey will continue to uphold the provisions of the Helsinki European Council Conclusions on the Cyprus issue and the common understanding reached in this regard with the EU on the basis of the relevant correspondence. Turkey, which has always kept the Cyprus issue separate from EU candidacy, will evaluate the Accession Partnership which was made public yesterday in light of the above-mentioned principles.

Aiming at meeting the requirements and upgrading the living standards of the Turkish people, our Government will continue the comprehensive reforms initiated in the political, economic and social spheres to that end. Turkey is fulfilling its obligations within the framework of international agreements related to human rights. In that respect, the essential is the principle of non-discrimination among citizens. Fundamental rights and freedoms of citizens in Turkey are guaranteed by the Constitution and laws. It is observed that the points touched upon in the Accession Partnership Document concerning democratization and further improvement of human rights in Turkey are, to a large extent, in tandem with the Report prepared by the Human Rights Supervisory Board which has been adopted as a reference and working document by the Government. Turkey will pursue its work to this end within the context of the preparation of its National Program.

Differences in opinion, evaluation and priorities on various issues may emerge between Turkey and the EU in the accession process. Notwithstanding such differences, what is important is the continuation of harmony between Turkey and the EU, on the main goal and principles, the prevention of differences from turning into "problems" and the objective appraisal by the EU of Turkey's present and future progress. We expect the EU to exert efforts for the further development of our relations. Maintenance of mutual trust, dialogue, goodwill and the fulfillment of commitments by both sides are of utmost importance. Responsibility, in this regard, falls on both parties.

In this process, we expect the EU to fulfill its own commitments for the implementation of the Accession Partnership promptly and accordingly, the adoption by the EU Council of the Framework Regulation prepared by the EU Commission.

Turkey, within the framework of the territorial integrity of the country and the fundamental principles of the Republic, is determined to deploy the efforts required to reach its goal of full membership to the EU as swiftly as possible. We hope that this new and important phase in our accession process to the EU will be to the benefit of our Nation.