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Türkiye is ‘most valuable candidate country’ for EU membership: Official

– It is ‘lack of vision and populism’ to ignore reality about matter, says permanent representative of Türkiye to EU

– ‘Ankara is committed to its membership goal’

– ‘Türkiye should be treated with justice and equality among the candidate countries’- It is ‘lack of vision and populism’ to ignore reality about matter, says permanent representative of Türkiye to EU

Türkiye is the most valuable candidate country for EU membership and it is utterly a “lack of vision and populism” to ignore the reality about this matter, according to the permanent representative of Türkiye to EU.

Speaking to Anadolu exclusively on Türkiye-EU relations, Faruk Kaymakci said there are many factors, including Russia’s war in Ukraine and elections in Türkiye and Greece as well as the economic recovery in the post-COVID-19 period, the need to increase “connectivity,” and the green and digital transformation process, in the international arena that give rise to a new vitality opportunity in bilateral relations between Türkiye and the EU.

He said that the EU has started to reconsider the issue of enlargement seriously, pointing out that the names of the Western Balkans, Ukraine and Moldova are mentioned more in this sense.

The envoy recalled that Türkiye has been an EU candidate country since 1999. “Recently, we have seen that there is selectivity in memory from time to time when talking about candidates or future member states. There are those who show the heedlessness of not referring to Türkiye.”

Ankara is committed to its membership goal, Kaymakci said.

“Türkiye is the most valuable candidate country for membership.

“Not to see this is really a lack of vision and populism for the EU,” he criticized.

“What is important here is that Türkiye should be treated with justice and equality among the candidate countries and that the country’s path should be paved (for the membership),” he urged.

He added: “When this is done, Türkiye will accelerate the reform process even more. It will be able to progress much faster than many candidate countries in fulfilling the membership criteria.”

Important meetings being planned for October, November

Referring to the cooling down of tensions in the Eastern Mediterranean, Kaymakci said that Türkiye and the EU have entered a new era in bilateral relations and that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis have recently met twice.

“A revival and recovery in Türkiye-EU relations is possible. Important visits and meetings are being planned to be carried out in October and November,” he said.

In addition, Turkish Trade Minister Omer Bolat will visit Brussels soon, he stressed.

Kaymakci also said Erdogan and Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan have been invited to the Global Gateway Forum to be held in Brussels on Oct. 25-26, a meeting which will be hosted by EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.

“This forum will be an important opportunity to show how important Türkiye is in East-West connectivity.”

He asserted that Turkish Industry and Technology Minister Mehmet Fatih Kacir will also visit Brussels in the coming weeks to boost contacts with the EU on innovation and research issues, as well as carrying out the Digital Europe programs.

High-level dialogue meetings

Furthermore, Kaymakci said as part of high-level dialogues between Ankara and the EU, meetings on migration, security and agriculture are planned to be held in November.

Kaymakci said that the issues of updating the Customs Union, visa liberalization and visa facilitation will be discussed at the meetings.

“(Visa facilitation) initiatives of both our ministers and our permanent mission to the EU authorities and member states on this issue are continuing. We are waiting for steps to be taken on this issue as soon as possible,” he underlined.

He also added that migration and security as well as the fight against terrorism will be discussed comprehensively at the meetings to be held with the EU in the coming weeks.