GeriGündem Abusing EU bid for political means will benefit nobody: PM
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Abusing EU bid for political means will benefit nobody: PM

Abusing EU bid for political means will benefit nobody: PM
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ANKARA - PM Erdoğan predicts campaigns against Turkey will continue in the coming months due to the national elections in European states. 'On this occasion let me tell you once again that making domestic politics over Turkey’s membership issue will not bring any benefits to any country,' he says. Parliament will not recess before EU reforms pass, notes PM

The prime minister Monday warned against any attempt to abuse Turkey’s European Union membership process for political ends, saying such an approach would beneficial to nobody.

"I believe that using Turkey and Turkey’s membership issue as a political took in some countries is very wrong," Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan told a luncheon given for Ankara’s ambassadors from EU member states.

Turkey formally began membership negotiations with the EU in October 2005 but the talks have slowed down over the years for a number of reasons, including Ankara’s refusal to open its ports to member Greek Cyprus as well as some countries opposition to the Turkish bid. In its last report, the EU Commission criticized Turkey over its slow pace of reforms.

No backtracking

"From time to time critics claimed we lost momentum and swept the EU issue to the peripheries. Let me put it very clearly and honestly that there is no a single instance of backtracking in Turkey’s speed and efforts," assured the prime minister.

"However, certain statements made by the EU side and certain attitudes opened the way for a serious erosion in public enthusiasm and agreement," warned Erdoğan.

Early this month, a number of candidates in the European Parliament elections campaigned against predominantly Muslim Turkey’s EU bid, giving an upper hand to French President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who have proposed to Ankara a privileged partnership instead of full membership in the EU.

In his address, while talking about several alternatives floated around by some EU member states, Erdoğan looked at the ambassadors of France and Germany.

"There is no such term as ’privileged partnership’ in our book," he said.

Erdoğan predicted that campaigns over Turkey would continue in the coming months due to the national elections in European states. "On this occasion let me tell you once again that making domestic politics over Turkey’s membership issue will not bring any benefits to any country. In the short run parties may believe it is beneficial but it must be seen that in the middle and long run such populist remarks will harm both the EU and Turkish-EU relations."

Erdoğan noted he would travel to Brussels this week to participate in the Crans Montana Forum set for Thursday and Friday. In remarks on an alleged military coup plan published in daily Taraf, Erdoğan said no tension broke out in Turkey because of the alleged document and ruled out a conflict among the institutions.

"On the contrary, Turkey has the chance to demonstrate through this document that Turkey is acting one heart, one body in the face of anti-democratic scenarios," said Erdoğan.

The prime minister noted that Parliament would not go into recess before EU reforms passed. He also criticized Brussels for not opening entry talks with Turkey over the remaining chapters. The talks on taxation are expected to begin at an intergovernmental conference later this month. Turkey cannot start talks on social policy and employment chapter because the unions’ law has not yet passed in Parliament.



Fair game

In a televised interview Monday, the ambassador of the Czech Republic said the Turkish prime minister’s criticism of some EU member states for their firm opposition to Ankara’s membership in the EU was not wrong.

"The promises given to Turkey must be kept and the game must be played fair," Eva Filipi was quoted as saying. "The Czech Republic is supporting Turkey’s EU membership." Upon a question on the alleged military coup plan, she said the issue was not discussed during the luncheon but stressed the claims were a source of concern and that the EU was closely following the matter.
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