Türkiye wants to advance relations with the EU based on a “concrete and positive agenda,” the country’s foreign minister said.
Presenting the new Foreign Ministry budget to parliament’s Planning and Budget Commission, Hakan Fidan said Türkiye remains committed to its EU membership goal and continues to follow constructive policies to improve cooperation and dialogue in all fields.
Fidan said the EU is far from showing a strategic vision from time to time, most recently in its annual report on EU candidate country Türkiye.
“The challenges we face show that Turkish-EU relations are too strategic to be reduced to the narrow-minded pursuit of interests of some member states. Our main expectation from the EU is to take concrete and meaningful steps that will re-accelerate the cooperation between us and our concrete membership process,” he added.
Saying that Türkiye’s “weight and role as a stability and welfare actor” amid regional crises is clear, he said it would be beneficial for both Türkiye and the EU if the EU takes this role into account in all its strategies, including the accession process.
The report repeated criticisms of Türkiye from previous years’ reports on issues such as democracy, fundamental rights, and the judiciary, criticisms that Turkish officials reject.
Türkiye applied for EU membership in 1987, and its accession talks began in 2005. In the years since, the talks have been essentially frozen due to political roadblocks by certain EU members for reasons unrelated to its suitability for membership, according to Ankara.
On the dispute on the island of Cyprus, Fidan said the key to a fair, permanent, and sustainable solution on the island is recognition of the inherent rights of the Turkish Cypriots, their sovereign equality, and equal international status.
“If there is a negotiation, it will be between two states, not between two communities, and the statuses of both parties will be equalized before sitting at the negotiation table,” he added.
Underlining that they will continue to sensitively protect Türkiye’s rights and interests in the Aegean and Eastern Mediterranean, Fidan said they want to advance relations with Greece with a “sincere and constructive dialogue based on a positive agenda.”
“Our relations with Greece are evolving in a positive direction with the help of the solidarity diplomacy that has been shown recently,” he added.
Cyprus has been mired in a decades-long dispute between Turkish Cypriots and Greek Cypriots, despite a series of diplomatic efforts by the UN to achieve a comprehensive settlement.
Türkiye fully supports a two-state solution on the island based on sovereign equality and equal international status between its two states.
– Gulf countries and Africa
Fidan said strategic cooperation with Gulf countries has been carried forward through high-level visits, bilateral agreements, and high-level cooperation mechanisms.
He added that the developments in political relations have had positive effects on other issues as well.
“The total trade volume between Türkiye and the six Gulf Cooperation Council member countries has grown more than 12-fold in the last 20 years. Our president’s visits to Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates in July and the agreements signed during these visits constitute an important step along these lines,” he added.
Stressing that they follow an approach in favor of Yemen’s territorial integrity, Fidan said efforts to solve the humanitarian and political crisis in the country will continue based on dialogue and mediation.
“We will diversify our relations with mutual contacts and visits within the framework of understanding and common will with the Egyptian administration,” he added.
Adding that significant progress has been made in relations with Algeria in the last three years, he said Erdogan will pay an official visit to Algeria tomorrow.
He said efforts are continuing in Libya to ensure a political solution that will preserve the country’s unity and integrity and enable the establishment of permanent stability.
He added that Türkiye, which became an observer member of the African Union in 2005, was declared a strategic partner of the continent at an AU summit in 2008.