World Bulletin / News Desk
Turkey's Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said Thursday that EU membership remains a strategic aim for Turkey.
"The EU is still a strategic aim for us. There is no change," Cavusoglu told reporters after meeting with his Polish counterpart Witold Waszczykowski and Romanian counterpart Lazar Comanescu.
In the wake of the July 15 defeated coup, he added, "Some EU countries failed to pass the test when it comes to defending democracy."
"We, on the other hand, are thankful to brother countries who expressed their support [to the elected government] from the first day [after the coup bid] and then visited us," Cavusoglu added.
The nation’s top diplomat also stressed the connections among three agreements between Turkey and the EU: the visa-free travel deal, readmission deal, and refugee deal.
"These agreements are connected to each other. We all should implement all three of these agreements," Cavusoglu said. "It is not right to say, 'Let's implement the deal that favors the EU, but not the one favorable to Turkey,' it is not fair."
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told French daily Le Monde earlier this month, “The readmission agreement and visa liberalization were to come into force simultaneously on June 1. It is now August and the visa liberalization is still pending,” adding, “If our claims are not met, we will have to stop readmissions.”
Speaking to reporters, Polish Foreign Minister Waszczykowski said relations between Turkey and the EU should continue, and added, "We are aware these relations need to be tighter and closer."
Romanian Foreign Minister Comanescu also said his country will continue to support Turkey’s EU membership bid.
Comanescu said membership would benefit not only Turkey but also the EU, adding: "Turkey is a key part of Europe."
The EU-Turkey refugee deal aims to discourage irregular migration through the Aegean Sea by taking stricter measures against human traffickers and improving the conditions of nearly 3 million Syrian refugees in Turkey.
The deal also allows for the acceleration of Turkey’s EU membership bid and visa-free travel for Turkish nationals within the Schengen area, on the condition that Ankara meets 72 requirements set by the EU.
Ankara has met most of the requirements, but the EU’s demands for change in Turkey’s anti-terrorism law have led to a deadlock in negotiations.
Euphrates Shield operation against ISIL
Cavusoglu slammed Turkey's opposition Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) as well, saying the party is "disturbed" by the Turkish army's operation launched Wednesday in Jarabulus, northern Syria against ISIL.
"They [HDP] proved once again that they are under the guidance of terror organizations," Cavusoglu said. "We once again saw that they are not interested in Kurdish people's rights either here or there [Syria]."
During a meeting this Monday of leaders of the opposition Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), Republican People’s Party (CHP), and ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party, participants said that HDP "should take a clear stance" against the terrorist PKK so it would no longer be associated with the group.
Turkey’s Operation Euphrates Shield in Syria was launched early Wednesday when artillery and airstrikes were followed by Turkish tanks crossing the border to target ISIL in support of Free Syrian Army fighters.
Cavusoglu also said the YPG -- the armed wing of the PKK terror group’s Syrian affiliate PYD -- fights ISIL "only to legitimize themselves".
"Turkey's fight against ISIL took away that argument from the YPG. It does not matter what a terror group or a party that is an extension of a terror group says," said Cavusoglu. "Every one of our allies are thankful to Turkey for our fight against ISIL."
The HDP criticized Turkey's operation in Jarabulus in a statement Wednesday, saying Turkey "should not get involved in Syria's internal affairs".
Turkey’s operation against ISIL around the northern Syrian city of Jarabulus was launched "in response to terror attacks" on southern Turkey in recent months, President Erdogan has said.
Güncelleme Tarihi: 26 Ağustos 2016, 08:27