EU : Enlargement process with Turkey moving forward

BRUSSELS, June 30 (KUNA) — The EU and Turkey held here Thursday the 12th meeting of Turkey’s membership talks amid signs of an improvement in EU-Turkey ties.
Speaking at a press conference after the meeting, Bert Koenders, Dutch Foreign Minister whose country holds the current EU Presidency said “today we will open the 16th chapter in the EU accession negotiations with Turkey, this is chapter 33 on financial and budgetary provisions.” Koenders said the visa liberalisation process with Turkey is a very important one and crucial element of the EU-Turkey agreement on migration.
On his part Johannes Hahn, EU Commissioner in charge of European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement noted in the joint press conference the opening of a new chapter on financial and budgetary provisions and added that “the enlargement process with Turkey is moving forward.” Turkey is a candidate country for EU membership since 1999. Accession negotiations started in October 2005 . A candidate country has to bring 35 chapters or policy areas in line with EU rules and regulations before it can become an EU member.
Omer Celik, Turkish Minister for European Union Affairs and Chief Negotiator said “Turkey is a major European country and a major European power and membership of EU is valuable for Turkey as well as it is Europe.” He added that “that Turkey-EU partnership should be finalized with full membership and on that road they have to overcome all the obstacles.” Referring to Tuesday’s terror attacks at Istanbul airport on Tuesday, Celik called for more international cooperation against terrorism but added that “unfortunately we see double standards (in Europe) towards Turkey.” He said that there are politicians and political parties in Europe who support the PKK (Kurdistan Workers Party) and are trying to exclude PKK from the list of terrorist organisation .
“We have to stop this kind of attitude and we have to fight against terrorism ,” he added.
Mevlut Cavusoglu, Turkish Foreign Minister told the joint press conference that Daesh and PKK are the same , adding that “if you allow in an European capital the PKK to set up a tent , this means like you are allowing Daesh to set up a tent.” Cavusoglu said EU-Turkey relations are passing through an important phase. He noted that in 4 months they have had 3 Turkey-EU summits and signed an important agreement to stop the flow of refugees and migrants to Europe. (end) nk.ajs