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First meeting of Turkey-EU joint Parliamentary Committee in three years – Bianet English

Rapprochement between Ankara and Brussels should not only be about economic ties and military cooperation but also about values, Lagodinsky has said.

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« The first Turkey-EU Joint Parliamentary Committee meeting in more than three years was held yesterday (March 17) at the European Parliament. The last such meeting was held in Turkey’s capital of Ankara on December 19, 2018 » says Bianet English. 

Speaking at the meeting, co-chair of the EU-Turkey Committee, Emrah Karayel, a lawmaker of the ruling Justice and Development (AKP), welcomed the reconvening of the commission after the EP elections in 2019.

Noting that they will first discuss the accession negotiations at the meeting, Karayel said the negotiations were “the backbone” of Turkey-EU relations. 

“Unfortunately, since the beginning of the negotiations, it has been highly politicized by some member states and has been used for their national interests,” he added.

“We expect the EU to act as a reliable international actor and to support Turkey in its EU journey,” he said.” Without the perspective of participation, it is impossible to expect the true potential of our relationships to unfold.”

Karayel stressed the need to update the Customs Union, the importance of Turkey in the global supply chain, and what Turkey should do in the European Green Deal. 

Time to « start anew » 

For his part, co-chair of the EU-Turkey Committee Sergey Lagodinsky said, “We are very pleased with this fresh start of the inter-parliamentary relations between EU and Turkey.”

“This meeting finally takes place after three years of hard work and waiting on both sides,” said Lagodinsky, a politician from Germany.

Stating that the joint parliamentary committee is the main body of inter-parliamentary cooperation, he said it is also the “backbone of our bilateral relations.”

“No matter what the differences in our opinions are and what the challenges are, we will keep trying, and we will keep building bridges,” he added.

“Turkey is and remains our important partner. Turkey is and remains a candidate country to the EU. Nothing changed about that,” he said. 

“Turkey remains a historical neighbor, being a founding member of the Council of Europe, being a signatory to a number of relevant international conventions, on democracy, on rule of law, on climate and many other issues,” he added.

On the recent stalled talks between Turkey and the EU, he said, “We have sensed a sense of growing distance between the European Union and Turkey during the past few years. And I think now is the chance to bridge those gaps, to build those bridges, to start anew, and to start a rapprochement on both sides.”

Turkey applied for EU membership in 1987 and accession talks began in 2005.  

« It’s not only about economic and military ties »

“But this rapprochement does not only mean economic ties, they are important, that does not only mean military cooperation, which is extremely important, especially today’s, it means also looking for building bridges in terms of our values of what is our orientation in this world, which is so difficult and so aggressive, » said Lagodinsky.

« We are ready to boost our mutual engagement. The EU is ready to boost our mutual engagement in a number of common interests and common areas, » he said. 

« We want to align Turkey and EU in the green transition, this is a necessity which is also economical, » he said, adding, « We want to intensify dialogue on climate change, health, migration, counterterrorism and also the economy. »

Lagodinsky also praised Turkey’s « recent efforts to normalize its position and its relations with a number of countries in the region. »

Just over the last week, Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan hosted his counterpart from Israel, Isaac Herzog, and Greece’s Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis in Turkey.

A high level meeting between Sergey Lavrov and Dmytro Kuleba, the foreign ministers of Russia and Ukraine, was hosted by Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu in Antalya last week. The talks were the first high-level interaction between Russia and Ukraine since the war began on February 24.

EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell also told Turkish media over the weekend that Ankara has played a “key role” in the global push to resolve the conflict. 

Bianet English, March 18, 2022

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