The membership negotiations between Turkey and the EU continue, Transportation, Maritime Affairs and Communications Minister Ahmet Arslan said yesterday, indicating that although some important chapters, including transport policies, have been suspended for political reasons, Turkey continues its technical work in the field of transportation.
Arslan met with European Commissioner for Transport Violeta Bulc and her accompanying delegation at the ministry yesterday.
While expressing his enthusiastic welcome to the delegation, Arslan noted the visit by Bulc has been the highest-level visit by the European Commission (EC) in the field of transportation since May 2012.
Underlining that Turkey has made great efforts in adjusting the Turkish transportation sector in accordance with EU legislation so far, Arslan stated that nine legal and 28 secondary regulations within the scope of their legislation adjustment efforts in the field of transportation and communications under the 2008 National Program have been made.
According to Arslan, at this point, they have fulfilled all of the legal regulation commitments under Chapter 14, which concerns transport policies, and fulfilled 80 percent of the secondary legislations.
Arslan noted that the work in the field of transportation continues within the framework of the National Action Plan covering the period from 2016 to 2019. "We have successfully finalized the technical negotiations on Chapter 21, named the Trans-European Networks (TEN), in 2011. In short, this chapter of negotiations for our ministry's responsibility is technically ready to be closed," he explained.
Arslan and Bulc touched on the latest developments in the EU transport policies, adjustment works in Turkey, financial cooperation and various issues about the sub-sectors of transportation. They also discussed the invigoration of the Turkey-EU high-level transport dialogue process and the consolidation of mutual cooperation in land and rail transport, air transport negotiations between Turkey and the EU, along with various other technical issues.
Bulc pointed out the importance of the meeting in terms of contributing to the transport relations between Turkey and the EU, stating: "This is my first official visit to Turkey, and I think it has started in the best way. The new airport, bridges and railway projects have really impressed me."
Touching on the importance of establishing robust transport links, Bulc said, "I think the links in cross-border rail, road and aviation are extremely important."
Stressing that the Halkalı-Kapıkule railway project is important in terms of the EU connection, Bulc noted that new logistics models are now based on the transfer of freight from land roads to railroads.
Emphasizing the importance of the railway project in terms of Turkey's vision, Bulc remarked that Turkey will determinedly contribute to the actualization of the project in terms of the connection platform between Europe and China.
According to Bulc, the comprehensive aviation agreement between Turkey and the EU is progressing very well, and the relevant teams will meet on the issue next week.
Bulc also assured that after the agreement is successfully completed, an annual revenue increase of 5 billion euros ($5.70 billion) will be ensured and passenger fees will fall by 50 percent.
Arslan underlined the vitality of Turkey-EU relations in terms of transportation in particular, saying that the corridors to reach China through Turkey concern both parties equally.
Arslan further noted that they aim to form complementary corridors, adding that they have come a long way in the field of transport so far and will continue like this from now on.
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