Turkey's foreign minister on Wednesday stated that the failures of integration policies have been among Europe's most discussed issues both within itself and within the Council of Europe.
"To be successful on the integration policies, we should support the policies of local authorities," Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said at the opening session of the European Mobility Week event in Turkey's capital Ankara.
Çavuşoğlu stressed that by creating awareness on the culture of living in harmony, local authorities can overcome intolerance, xenophobia, discrimination and populist tendencies.
"If we better advertise this event, which has over 1,000 cities from 37 countries as participants, even more countries and more cities from our country can join the event," he said, adding that he is pleased with Turkey's participation in the event.
Referring to the "walk with us" concept, the event's slogan this year, Çavuşoğlu said that Turkey has always told the EU to walk together and overcome problems together.
He also added that although Turkey and the EU would easily overcome technical obstacles, they also need to overcome the political obstacles together.
Turkey's journey to becoming a member of the EU has seen numerous ups and downs in the last 50 years. Turkey has always been open to cooperation, doing its part within the bounds of its capabilities in negotiations, which started in 1963 with the Ankara Agreement. Yet, Turkey has been waiting for membership for decades as the EU keeps dragging its feet on the process.
In 1963, Turkey first signed the Ankara Agreement that foresaw the abolition of tariffs and quotas on goods as part of integration in the customs union with the European Economic Community (EEC), the predecessor of the EU, acknowledging the final goal of membership.
After a long interim period, Turkey signed the European Constitution in 2004, leading to negotiations for full membership launched in 2005, when the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) was enjoying its first term in power. However, negotiations stalled once again in 2007 due to objections to opening chapters by the Greek Cypriot administration on the divided island of Cyprus.
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