There was a pleasant development last week. After a long period, Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, High Representative for the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini and commissioner for the neighborhood policies and enlargement negotiations, Johannes Hahn, held a high-level Turkey-EU political dialogue meeting in Ankara.
They said in a joint statement how pleased they are to see the resumption of the Reform Action Group (REG) meetings. We were also delighted with this development.
Both sides agreed on the importance of dialogue and cooperation with the Council of Europe, where Turkey is a founding member. The satisfaction of the continuation of the informal working group between the Justice Ministry and the Council of Europe was also expressed.
Emphasizing a strong will to increase cooperation in the fight against terrorism, the joint statement said that Turkey and the EU had taken concrete steps to enhance collaboration to counter the terrorist threat effectively. The parties have specially voiced their intention to fulfil all the remaining criteria to continue the visa liberalization process.
"The two sides reconfirmed their intention to continue the visa liberalization dialogue to implement all pending benchmarks. In the framework of the visa liberalization road map benchmarks, Turkey has started to issue second-generation passports as of April 2, and negotiations for an operational cooperation agreement between the European Union and Turkey on the exchange of personal data between Europol and Turkish authorities responsible for fighting serious crime and terrorism will start on Nov. 30," the statement expressed.
This assessment was also very pleasant. Also, the fact that Turkey has become the host country of the largest number of asylum seekers in the world and has made great efforts to provide them access to services such as education and health was also noted.
In the statement, which emphasizes strengthening the cooperation with high-level dialogue in the fields of economy, energy and transport, it also said, "We have decided to work as soon as conditions allow for the improvement and updating of the customs union. We will continue our preparations for the Partnership Council, the anti-terrorism dialogue, the joint security and defense policy consultations and the new meetings of thematic foreign policy dialogue."
"We will continue to give full and resolute support to the efforts of the leaders of Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot communities and U.N. Secretary-General [Antonio Guterres] toward achieving a comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus issue."
Other than Cyprus, views on regional developments, particularly in the Balkans, Syria, Iraq and Libya were exchanged.
All of these issues mentioned in the joint statement are also proof of how determined Turkey is to progress toward EU accession.
How sincere is the EU? That's the real question. Speaking at a joint press conference after the interview, Mogherini and Hahn criticized Turkey for the Osman Kavala and Selahattin Demirtaş trials, both based on terror-related charges. That justifies our doubts about their sincerity. According to documents and their expressions, it has been clear how those names supported and still support the terrorism in Turkey. Their trials are currently in progress.
Therefore, Çavuşoğlu pointed out the hypocrisy of the EU: "Excluding Turkey in the EU accession process or denying its candidacy is of no use. We expect more concrete support from EU member states in our counterterrorism efforts. It is unacceptable for FETÖ members to be asylum seekers in the EU. The interruption of the IPA [Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance] funds will not sink Turkey. The customs union agreement must be updated. We made an agreement on migration. We signed to open five chapters [of the acquis communitaire], then a decision comes out. This is hypocrisy; there's no explanation for this." Çavuşoğlu is very right. All the citizens of the Republic of Turkey expressed their thoughts.
Despite everything, dialogue is essential; however, Hahn's perspective on Turkey is no different from the Austrian government's outlook. This is an unfortunate situation for the EU.
Our wish is that the commissioner who will be responsible for the enlargement will be a more reasonable and fairer in the new commission to be held in May 2019 after European Parliament elections.
Chances are Hahn won't be commissioner again. Austria's commissioner will probably assume another area, no matter who he is. So in any case, after the election, we will be addressing new names and a new commissioner in the new commission.
So far, the EU has had difficulty understanding our vulnerability in the fight against terrorism. Our wish is the new European Parliament and the EU Commission, which will be in 2019, to be more responsive to all EU institutions and to end the "hypocrisy" targeting Turkey.
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