Turkey's European Union Minister Volkan Bozkir (R)
Brussels - Anadolu
Turkey's European Union Minister Volkan Bozkir announced "Turkey's New European Union Strategy", which aims to eliminate the obstacles to EU membership by accelerating the dynamics of Turkey-EU relations.
Addressing press members Thursday before starting his visits in Brussels, Bozkir said Turkey's new strategy towards the European Union has three legs; "Determination in the Political Reform Process, Continuity in Socioeconomic Transformation in the Accession Process and Effectiveness in Communication".
“National Action Plan for EU Accession” will be implemented in two periods: the first period will last until 2015 and the second will cover the period of 2015-2019," said Bozkir, hinting at the successful closure of Turkey'sEU membership bid chapters.
Bozkir said the new strategy will also persuade Turkish citizens who are hesitant about Turkey's EU accession process and change negative perceptions.
Speaking about the progress reports of the EU on Turkey's annual performance, Bozkir said Turkey "should stop issuing its own progress reports".
"Turkey's own progress reports do not have any value regarding the system," he said, adding the upcoming report should be functional both for the EU and Turkey, warning that an "inappropriate tone" in the report would cause more problems.
In 2012 and 2013, Turkey announced its own "progress report", in a reaction to EU on "not being objective".
In three weeks the EU will issue an accession progress report on Turkey’s efforts to meet EU standards.
Turkey's New European Union Strategy
Prepared around the principles of "determination, continuity and effectiveness", the strategy has three main pillars: "Political Reform Process, Socio-economic Transformation in the Accession Process and EU Communication Strategy".
The European Union Strategy will become operational upon adoption of the “National Action Plan for the EU Accession” and “European Union Communication Strategy” in November.
"Prioritizing Turkey’s interests and benefits of the citizens, the new strategy will lead to a boost in the reform process and establishment of new communication channels between Turkey and the EU," said a written statement by Turkey's European Union Ministry on Thursday.
About the political reforms, the strategy will focus on "further advancing the reforms of the last twelve years in the fields of rule of law, democratization, human rights, civilianization, freedom and security and consolidating the related gains will be the basis of the political reform process in the upcoming period".
The political reform also includes "removing the imprints of Turkey's military coup in 1980" and "continuation of the reform process in line with the EU acquis".
About the "Socio-Economic Transformation in the Accession Process", the strategy says the process requires fundamental changes in all fields of daily life from production to consumption, justice to security, health to education, agriculture to industry and energy to environment.
"Each political, judicial, economic or social reform implemented on the path to the EU accession upgrades the living standards of the citizens and increases the economic power, democratic prestige and security of our country on the global scale," the manifest added.
Last component of the newly announced strategy is "European Union Communication Strategy", which hails the support the political and socio-economic reforms that have changed the outlook of Turkey with "tailored communication efforts".
"A successful communication strategy does not only serve to adoption of the reforms by the nation, but also help underpin the external image of the country with the facts instead of misperceptions," the manifest added.
The manifest can be accessed at http://www.ab.gov.tr/files/foto/eu_strategy.pdf
EU's Fule pledges objectivity on Turkey's progress
EU's enlargement chief said Thursday the next progress report on Turkey would be objective, reflecting both positive and negative developments over the last year.
Turkish Minister for EU Affairs Volkan Bozkir met Stefan Fule, EU's enlargement chief in Brussels, the first meeting since the appointment of Bozkir to his new post.
Bozkir has had several meetings with European diplomats and politicians in Strasbourg and Brussels this week, and his visit to the EU comes as the bloc is set to release the next progress report on Turkey in the forthcoming days.
"We agreed to revive our cooperation to achieve the common goal of seeing Turkey in the EU one day," Fule said on his official twitter account.
Bozkir and Fule exchanged views on EU -Turkey relations, the accession process ofTurkey and the next progress report on Turkey to be released in the forthcoming days, said a statement from the European Commission.
Fule said that constructive cooperation between the EU and Turkey would continue in all areas including economy and trade, foreign policy dialogue, visa and migration policy and energy, according to the statement.
Fule also expressed the necessity of enhancing engagement with the Commission on the rule of law and fundamental rights.
Turkey welcomes EU-Ukraine association deal
Meanwhile Turkey has welcomed the ratification of an association agreement between Ukraine and the European Union.
In a statement released on Thursday, the foreign ministry said: "We are pleased with the simultaneous ratification of the association agreement by Ukraine and EU parliaments on September 16.
"Turkey strongly supports Ukraine's reform process and this country's preference towards developing relations with EU institutions at the rate and depth it desires."
The agreement, which brings about a gradual strengthening of political and economic ties between the EU and Ukraine, was simultaneously approved by the Verkhovna Rada and the European Parliament on Tuesday.
Following ratification, Ukraine's President Petro Poroshenko said integration with the EU had become a national vision of his country.
At the rada, 355 out of 381 voted in favor of the agreement. In Strasbourg, 535 members voted yes while 127 voted against the ratification and 26 abstained.
The political section of the agreement was signed on March 21 on the same day Russia formally annexed the breakaway region of Crimea.
The economic part was signed on June 27, following the presidential elections two days earlier.
Ukraine witnessed a massive wave of anti-government protests after former President Viktor Yanukovych refused to sign the agreement in November last year, favoring closer ties with Russia.
The free-trade agreement, which is different from all other agreements with non-member countries with 15 chapters, 14 attachments and three protocols, is expected to make a significant contribution to the Ukrainian economy.