Turkish FM Çavuşoğlu: Europeans have understood their mistakes

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu says Europeans have understood that they made mistakes in their relations with Turkey, the state-run Anadolu news agency reported.

“If you [European Union] want to have dialogue and cooperation, it must be sincere dialogue and cooperation. I have seen this positive atmosphere. I have seen that they have understood their mistakes,” Çavuşoğlu told Anadolu following the Informal Meeting of Foreign Affairs Ministers (Gymnich) in Valletta, Malta.

Çavuşoğlu met with the high representative of the European Union for foreign affairs and security policy, Federica Mogherini, with Commissioner for European Neighborhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations, Johannes Hahn, and with German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel during the EU meeting.

Underlining that during the bilateral meetings EU officials asked how to normalize relations with Turkey, what kind of steps they should take, Çavuşoğlu continued: “I have seen that they have also taken lessons from their wrong approaches and mistakes. I hope they’re sincere.”

Meanwhile, “The accession process continues, it is not suspended, not ended (although) we are currently not working on any new chapters,” Federica Mogherini told reporters.

“The criteria are very clear, well known and if Turkey is interested in joining, as the foreign minister told us today, … it knows very well what that implies, especially in the field of human rights, rule of law, democracy and freedoms,” she said.

GERMANY REJECTS CALLS TO END TURKEY’S EU MEMBERSHIP BID

Germany on Friday rejected demands to terminate Turkey’s bid to join the EU at a time when some EU states are saying Ankara’s membership dream ended when Turkey approved a constitutional reform package on April 16 that gave Turkey’s autocratic President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan vast executive powers.

Some EU lawmakers called this week for a formal suspension of Turkey’s long-stalled EU bid, saying it does not meet democratic standards as the referendum result has increased their concerns about Erdoğan’s growing authoritarianism. But German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel said on Friday that such a step would be counterproductive.

“The German government is strictly against cancelling the [accession] talks, that would be totally the wrong reaction,” Gabriel told reporters as he arrived for a meeting in Malta.

“Those who would like to win applause at home because they say ‘We will not talk to Turkey anymore’ will not change anything in Turkey,” he said.

Relations between Turkey and the EU have been strained, especially due to steps taken by the government following a failed coup attempt on July 15, 2016. Tension peaked when some EU countries refused to allow Turkish ministers conduct referendum rallies in European cities.

Attacking EU members during his nonstop “yes” campaign ahead of an April 16 referendum, President Erdoğan called Europe “the center of Nazism today.” Erdoğan also described the EU as “the alliance of crusaders.” (SCF with turkishminute.com) April 28, 2017

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