ISTANBUL – Turkey is deeply disappointed by the latest so-called progress report of the European Union. The report was presented in Brussels today. It is full of generalisations and prejudice, and it sounds like the EU listened too much to action groups, declared Egemen Bagis, chief negotiator with the EU and Minister of EU Affairs.
The report acknowledges that Turkey has made progress in at least 32 negotiation chapters. At the same time it signals serious shortcomings in the areas of press freedom, the freedom of opinion and assembly, in the long delays in judicial procedures and the lack of policies to solve the Kurdish issue in a democratic way.
Minister Bagis linked the negativity of the report to the fact that (Greek) Cyprus has been holding the EU Presidency since July this year. According to him, that aggravated the negativity of the report. Turkey has frozen its dialogue with the EU because of the Cypriot Presidency. The stalemate in the situation around the divided island of Cyprus is the biggest hump in the negotiations between Turkey and the EU, which have effectively been stalled.
They will renew the dialogue with Europe in January, when Ireland will take over the Presidency. Bagis stated that in the meantime Turkey will keep on reforming and that membership of the EU is still a goal.