Turkey is a natural and strong partner in maintaining and promoting peace, stability and prosperity in the European Union and wider Europe, Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said on Monday.
Speaking at the opening ceremony of the 13th Ambassadors’ Conference in the Turkish capital, Ankara, he said: “If we had done and are doing with the European Union what we have achieved in foreign policy only , the European Union would be applauded as a global player all over the world.”
Regarding Turkey’s goal of joining the EU, the head of diplomacy reaffirmed Ankara’s commitment and said that the country “will pursue constructive policies to improve cooperation and dialogue in all areas “.
“Turkey is Europe,” he said, stressing Ankara’s responsibility to ensure Europe’s security.
“Today, the commitment sought by formulas such as the European Political or Geopolitical Community has already been established for us through the Partnership Status, the Customs Union relationship and the process of negotiating accession to the European Union. EU. We are not open to suggestions that would cast a shadow over our accession process. We look favorably on integration steps that will accelerate our accession and empower us in relevant policy areas,” explained Çavuşoğlu.
In recent years, Turkey-EU relations have been marked by disputes over several issues, including tensions in the Eastern Mediterranean, Turkey’s role in Syria, the migrant crisis and the impasse in Turkey’s accession process. to join the block. However, Turkey recently reiterated that it is part of Europe and sees its future in the EU, adding that it will continue to work towards full membership.
Ankara called for reinvigorating the accession process, updating the EU-Turkey customs union, organizing regular high-level dialogues, liberalizing visas and combating terrorism.
Turkey has a long history with the union and the longest negotiation process. The country signed an association agreement with the EU’s predecessor, the European Economic Community (EEC), in 1964, which is seen as a first step towards eventually becoming a candidate. Official candidacy in 1987, Turkey had to wait until 1999 to obtain the status of candidate country. Turkey then had to wait another six years for negotiations to begin in 2005, a particularly long process compared to the other candidates. Since then, the process seems to have stalled.
Turkey’s foreign policy is entrepreneurial and humanitarian, not dogmatic or unprincipled, which has helped mitigate the threat of a global food crisis, Çavuşoğlu also said and stressed that the crisis in Ukraine “has once again demonstrated the value of Turkey”.
Ankara expects its allies to be “more friendly, more active and less critical, and to take responsibility”, he added.
He said Turkey’s cross-border operations were progressing with effective diplomatic support, stressing that they were of “great importance” for the territorial integrity of Syria and Iraq.
The fight against terrorism is a “red line” for Turkey, the minister said.
He said Ankara expects the Iraqi authorities to take concrete action against the PKK terrorist group.
In the meantime, Turkey will continue to take measures to protect its national security, he said.
“Turkey hopes that its sensitivities in the fight against terrorism are well understood by the world,” Çavuşoğlu said.
He also criticized the United States for not taking “satisfactory measures” against the PKK, its Syrian branch YPG and the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ) terrorist groups, as well as unilateral sanctions against Turkey.
The PKK is a designated terrorist organization in the United States, Turkey and the EU, and Washington’s support for its Syrian affiliate has strained bilateral relations with Ankara.
The United States has primarily partnered with YPG terrorists in northeastern Syria in its fight against the Daesh terrorist group. By contrast, Turkey has firmly opposed the YPG’s presence in northern Syria. Ankara has long opposed US support for the YPG, a group that poses a threat to Turkey and terrorizes the local population, destroying their homes and forcing them to flee.
Under the pretext of fighting Daesh, the United States provided military training and supplied military support trucks to the YPG, despite the security concerns of its NATO ally. Emphasizing that you cannot support one terrorist group to defeat another, Turkey has carried out its own counter-terrorism operations, during which it has succeeded in eliminating a significant number of terrorists from the region.
Addressing the situation in the Eastern Mediterranean and the Aegean Sea, Çavuşoğlu said Turkey wants “interconnected issues” to be addressed and resolved “holistically and comprehensively in accordance with international law”.
“Greece, however, does not have the will to solve (these) problems,” he said.
Speaking about the recent flare-up between Armenia and Azerbaijan, he reiterated that Turkey “once again warns Armenia not to engage in further provocations.”
When Azerbaijan liberated the Karabakh territory which was illegally occupied by Armenia for nearly three decades during the conflict in the fall of 2020, Çavuşoğlu said Turkey stood for justice and supported the just and truthful side.
The foreign minister also condemned the new wave of Israeli attacks on Gaza, saying there can be no justification for killing innocent people, especially a 5-year-old child.