Turkish Economy Minister Zafer Caglayan on Tuesday said that the European Union (EU) did not include Turkey in a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) to be signed with the United States (US).
Leaving Turkey outside an FTA between the EU and US creates unfair competition for Turkey, Caglayan underlined.
Zafer Caglayan on Tuesday met Ireland's Deputy Prime Minister, Foreign and Trade Minister Eamon Gilmore in Ankara.
"We are pleased to host Gilmore and his delegation in Turkey. Trade volume between our two countries increased by 2.5 fold in the last 10 years. However, this figure could increase even further," Caglayan said.
"Trade volume between Turkey and Ireland reached 1.2 billion USD in 2012. Out of this figure, Turkey's exports to Ireland were worth 248 million USD and Ireland's exports to Turkey were worth 845 million USD," Caglayan emphasized.
"Between 2002-2012, international direct investments coming to Turkey from Ireland were worth 410 million USD. Direct investments in Ireland from Turkey were worth 742 million USD. I do hope that the visit made by Gilmore would lead to an increase in trade volume and our foreign trade with Ireland would get more balanced," Caglayan stated.
-"Our aim is to be first"-
During the global economic crisis, Turkey achieved crucial successes in exports and economic development, Caglayan said.
"In 2012, Turkey was Europe's second biggest growing economy. We were the second country in the world which increased its exports most. Surely, we have no intention to remain second. Our intention is to be the first country. The Turkish economy reached a respectable position in global economy in the last decade," Caglayan stated.
-"Commercial relations will be placed on a mechanism"-
"Our two countries have good diplomatic relations. However, there is no commercial consultation mechanism between our two countries. We will make proposals to Gilmore on this issue. In the second half of this year, technical delegations would meet in order to help commercial and economic relations be placed on a mechanism," Caglayan said.
"We will discuss cooperation between our two countries and cooperation with third countries," Caglayan noted.
"We will evaluate increasing the number of mutual investments and talk on contractors, tourism, health and issues suitable for cooperation," Caglayan stated.
-"We hope to overcome obstacles in EU"-
"Ireland is serving as the EU term president for the seventh time. We hope to overcome the unfair obstacles in our EU process during Ireland's term presidency. We have no doubt that Ireland would handle related issues with good sense," Caglayan noted.
"Turkey and the EU signed the Customs Union 18 years ago. There are certain problems involved with the Customs Union," Caglayan stressed.
"The source of such problems is the EU with an insincere attitude against Turkey. Unfortunately, Turkey is face to face with EU's visa obstacle. Implementation of visas for Turkish citizens is seen as a violation of human rights by Turkey and has turned into a torture and brutality that can not be accepted. Turkey has been a member of the Customs Union for the past 18 years and has made important progress in accession talks. Despite this reality, we get saddened when we see the citizens of countries without any close ties to the EU enter the EU without visas. I would like to express that the EU's attitude is not in line with commerce, human rights or justice," Caglayan noted.
"The EU, in talks with third countries, does not let Turkey sit at the table," Caglayan stressed.
Turkey has been forced to act according to text placed in front of EU member countries after the negotiations have been completed, Caglayan said.
The EU has a structure violating free trade when it comes to the free movement of goods and Turkish products are faced with the obstacle of quotas, Caglayan indicated.
Touching on FTA talks to begin between the EU and US, Zafer Caglayan underlined that the EU did not include Turkey in the talks.
"Such a situation creates unfair competition for Turkey. I believe that Ireland would eradicate this unfairness during their term presidency," Caglayan stressed.
Caglayan asked for Ireland's support to Izmir's candidacy to host the EXPO 2020.
-"Irish investors have confidence in Turkey"-
Deputy Prime Minister Gilmore said that this was his first official trip to Turkey after assuming office two years ago.
Turkey and Ireland have important commercial relations and the trade volume constantly rises, Gilmore noted.
Turkish-Irish commercial relations will continue to develop in 2013, Gilmore said.
Irish companies made crucial investments in Turkey in recent years and this shows the confidence Irish investors have in Turkey, Gilmore expressed.
Turkey has a robust economy and is a power station within the G-20 economy, Gilmore underlined.
-"We support Turkey's EU membership"-
Ireland always supported Turkey's accession into the EU, Gilmore said.
"We believe that an expansion would increase the EU's strength as a global actor. We think that the inclusion of Turkey and Western Balkan countries into the EU would increase the sphere of influence of the Union," Gilmore noted.
As the EU term president, we consider it as our duty to revive Turkey's entry negotiations, Gilmore stated.
"We expect the 22nd chapter to be opened to negotiations officially in July," Gilmore indicated.
"We would like to see progress on the issue of visas. Since we are not a member of Schengen, we also experience difficulties on the issue of visas," Gilmore said.
-"We are aware of Turkey's concerns"-
Touching on the FTA planned to be signed between the EU and US, Gilmore said that this agreement would be the continuation of a process of an advise a high level group made between the sides.
At this stage, talks at an official level take place, Gilmore said.
Following the talks, we plan to establish a draft negotiation authorization document, Gilmore emphasized.
A group of EU trade ministers will convene in Dublin on April 17-18 and we expect an authorization document to be formed by June, Gilmore said.
"We are aware of Turkey's concerns. We know that the effects of an FTA between the EU and US get debated in Turkey," Gilmore noted.
"The issue of a concurrent agreement between Turkey and the US came up at the European Commission. The Commission is ready to extend assistance to Turkey. European Commission has taken certain steps whereby Turkey would be informed about the process (between the EU and US)," Gilmore noted.
"We are not a member of the Bureau of International Exhibitions (BIE). As such, we do not have a vote we can cast for Izmir's candidacy to host the EXPO 2020. We wish Izmir good luck," Gilmore stated.
Meanwhile, after Gilmore said that Irish citizens experienced difficulties in buying real estate properties in Turkey in recent years, Minister Caglayan underlined that 11,000 Irish citizens were owners of real estate properties in Turkey.
Caglayan stressed that, thanks to a law adopted in 2012, foreigners could own real estate properties in Turkey.