Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu attended on Monday the 51st meeting of the Turkey-European Union (EU) Association Council, where he reiterated the necessity Turkey feels of accelerating the accession negotiations the country has long been holding with the Union.
"I'd like to emphasize especially that we are holding the 51st meeting," Davutoglu said. "We have a shared history spanning more than 50 years since the Ankara agreement was signed in 1963. Becoming an EU member has been our strategic goal for the last half a century and it will continue to be."
It is the same strategic vision that Davutoglu said he expects from the 27-member bloc. Today, Turkey is regarded as an important player in international issues, he said; it also has a strong economy and has been consistent in its commitment to democratic values.
"We believe Turkey deserves EU membership and the international system needs, more than ever, to see Turkey as an EU member," Davutoglu said. "We further believe an EU that has Turkey as its member will have its voice resonate more strongly around the world and with more bearing."
Turkish Foreign Minister said current efforts on the part of the EU for Turkey's membership were inadequate, referring to the opening to negotiations of the 22 chapter on "regional policy and coordination of structural instruments". Davutoglu reminded the gathering of the saying "one swallow does not make a summer", asserting the EU needs to do more.
"If we go on at this pace, we'd have to wait another 50 years to complete the process," he said. "As the world around us is constantly changing, Turkey and the EU need a much more dynamic relationship."
Foreign Minister Davutoglu said it was unacceptable for Turkish nationals to be denied free movement within the EU while Turkish goods have had this right for 17 years since Turkey joined the Customs Union.
Turkey fulfilled the requirements put forth by the Union when the negotiations for visa exemption began in 2009, Davutoglu said, as the country adopted biometric passports, integrated border management and plans for a readmission agreement.
He said Turkey expects that the process move as quickly as possible and visa exemption be granted simultaneously with the enforcement of the readmission agreement, which entails repatriation of illegal Turkish immigrants.
With regard to free trade agreements (FTA) the EU signs with third countries, Davutoglu said Turkey needs to become a party to such agreements for fair trade relations between the countries and the Union.
In this respect, Turkey would hold negotiations with the United States (US) in parallel to the ongoing talks between the EU and the US for the establishment of the Trans-Atlantic Free Trade Area (TAFTA).
EU arms embargo on Syria
Davutoglu called on the EU member states to remove the embargo on the delivery of weapons to the Syrian people.
He said he supports lifting the embargo "because they have a right of self-defense. This is a people who have been subjected to artillery attacks, air assaults, Scud missile strikes and use of chemical weapons in the last two years."
"If we can't prevent all this, the very least of what we must do is to empower them to use their legitimate right of self-defense."Anadolu Agency website contains only a portion of the news stories offered to subscribers in the AA News Broadcasting System (HAS), and in summarized form. Please contact us for subscription options.