BY DAILY SABAH
ANKARA EU AFFAIRS NOV 05, 2021 11:53 AM GMT+3Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu speaks at the Planning and Budget Committee of the Grand National Assembly of Turkey (TBMM) in the capital Ankara, Turkey, Nov. 4, 2021. (AA Photo)
The European Union is not advancing Turkey’s accession process despite Ankara calling on Brussels to accelerate the talks, Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said on Thursday.
Speaking at the Foreign Ministry and related institutions 2022 Planning and Budget Committee parliamentary meeting, Çavuşoğlu indicated that while Turkey may have its deficiencies, Ankara has never given up on its candidacy for membership.
It was the EU that gave up, he said.
Çavuşoğlu’s remarks were in response to criticism by deputies in Parliament who questioned the slow progress in accession talks. He also blamed the protracted process on the nine countries, including France, that oppose expansion.
“We tell the EU ‘do not stall us on visa exemption.’ We fulfill the criteria. They started to approach even meetings just recently.”
Turkey has the longest history with the union and the longest negotiation process. The country signed an association agreement with the EU’s predecessor in 1964, the European Economic Community (EEC), which is usually regarded as a first step to eventually becoming a candidate. Applying for official candidacy in 1987, Turkey had to wait until 1999 to be granted the status of a candidate country. For the start of the negotiations, however, Turkey had to wait for another six years, until 2005, a uniquely long process compared with other candidates.