As Turkey prepares to meet with officials from the European Union this week to officially open Chapter 33 "financial and budgetary provisions," Deputy Prime Minister and government spokesperson Numan Kurtulmuş said on Monday that although "accession talks were ongoing" he urged the EU to be "more sensible" in visa liberalization negotiations especially after the recent Brexit. The meeting will likely be the major determining factor as to Turkey's next move in membership talks.
Kurtulmuş said, "Turkey has shown its continued engagement for the accomplishment of visa liberalization and [the implementation of] the Readmission Agreement. The EU also should move in a more sensible way in this process." Kurtulmuş underlined that an EU without a joint force will enter into a disintegration process, despite the EU having a justice mechanism, a parliament and a currency unit in a region with a joint fiscal policy. "We [Turkey] had warned many years ago that the EU will enter into a disintegration process if a joint [military] force, was not established though it is trying to be established through the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE). The EU's inability to solve issues became more evident, especially with the Ukraine crisis," he said.
Kurtulmuş said that the migrant deal reached between Turkey and the EU on March 18 was functioning well, as the number of irregular migrants trying to flee to the Greek islands had drastically decreased in recent months. "Therefore, as a country that meets its responbilities in regards to the rules of the Readmission Agreement, I want to emphasize that our [Turkey's] expectations for visa liberalization are clear and understandable," he said. He noted that Turkey had fulfilled 67 of the 72 criteria and was discussing the remaining requirements with the EU. European officials are insistent that Turkey narrow its definition of terrorism. The government spokesman also urged European states to be as sensitive as Turkey in combating terrorism. Commenting on the Brexit, Kurtulmuş said that the voting in the U.K. has shown that the EU should reform itself and curb rising Islamophobia, xenophobia and racist trends, while urging member countries not to use anti-Turkey rhetoric for their internal political gains.