While stressing that Turkey is "structurally" a European state by its history, Turkey's EU Affairs Minister and Chief Negotiator Ömer Çelik indicated yesterday that Turkey demands to be a natural part of Europe, integrated with political values and free from double standards on human rights and democracy. Çelik said, "When we look at the big picture, it is favorable to protect the EU in strong unity on the basis of political values, in terms of our principles and our world view as well as our national interests."
Responding to a question regarding Turkey's stance on becoming a permanent member of the EU, Çelik asked: "Which Europe are you talking about?" and stressed that there is no distinction between Daesh radicalism and the far-right extremism that is growing among European countries.
"If you mean the EU that is in the mind of [Nicolas] Sarkozy, [Marine] Le Pen and [Geert] Wilders, Turkey will likely not [wish to] be a part of such a union. However, Turkey desires to be a member of the EU that internalizes human rights and democracy and is free of double standards," the minister noted.
Evaluating the Turkish-EU relationship from a Turkish viewpoint, Çelik indicated that the Turkish nation believes the country has not been allowed to become a permanent member of the EU despite high support for its participation in the union. Çelik emphasized that the Turkish nation is aware of the double standard the EU has used against Turkey.
While the crisis between Turkey and Germany continues after Germany authorities banned Turkish ministers from discussing the constitutional amendment package with Turks living in Germany, Çelik warned Germany to not form a "Berlin Wall" between the two countries and invited Germany to abandon the negative stance it holds against Turkey.
Minister Çelik said that the German government — not local German authorities — are responsible for mandating the meetings of Turkish officials in the country, noting: "There is a systematic prevention [being implemented against Turkey]."
Meanwhile, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu accused German authorities of systematically preventing Turkish ministers from campaigning in the country during his address to the Turkish community at the residence of the Turkish Consulate General in the northern German city of Hamburg, on March 7. Çavuşoğlu said that Turkey has always considered Germany a friendly nation, underlining that the country's anti-Turkey sentiment and the pressure it has exerted on Turkish citizens is not reflective of this relationship. "The counteractive efforts of local authorities cannot divide us," Çavuşoğlu told the audience as he called on Germany to change its attitude. The foreign minister also addressed concerns about growing racism in Europe.
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