Turkey’s EU membership requires mutual efforts, says Gül

May 08, 2012, Tuesday/ 17:51:00/ TODAY'S ZAMAN

President Abdullah Gül has said Turkey’s membership in the European Union requires mutual efforts on the part of both Turkey and the union in a message he released for Europe Day.

“Turkey’s membership in the EU depends on Turkey’s sincere efforts as well as the union’s determination to keep its pledges [to make Turkey a member of the union] and a constructive attitude,” the president noted in his message. The message was released by the president’s office on Tuesday. Europe Day is marked on May 9. Gül defined Europe Day as a celebration of peace, stability and welfare on the European continent of which Turkey is politically, economically, historically and culturally a part and wished all European peoples a happy Europe Day.

The president furthermore recalled that Turkey made big sacrifices in the past to defend freedom, including a free Europe, and to protect all values belonging to all nations. However, he said, some movements feeding on xenophobia, racism and Islamophobia pose a threat to the values of Europe. “I sincerely hope that Europe will prevent the threat of these movements gaining more ground before they lead the EU to collapse in on itself, doing irreparable damage to universal values,” the president stated.

According to Gül, Turkey is keeping up efforts for harmonization of its legislation in an attempt to fulfill the Copenhagen criteria for becoming a full member of the EU, adding that some reforms undertaken recently in the political and judicial arena have helped the construction of a more democratic, more prosperous and stronger Turkey. The president also said Turkey’s full membership in the EU will “add dynamism” in all fields to the 27-nation block. “Turkey’s membership will certainly increase the strength of the EU in the international arena, including in the fields of economy, energy, foreign policy and security. It will also pose a unique opportunity to gain acceptance for the EU’s values and its future role in a wider area of the world,” he added.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan also released a message for Europe Day in which he defined Turkey’s membership in the EU as “indispensable.” He said Turkey expects its European partners to fulfill their responsibilities on Turkey’s road to full membership. “The deeply rooted history of relations between Turkey and the EU as well as our mutual interests make Turkey’s membership in the union indispensable. For this reason, I am fully convinced that Turkey will [soon] take its place in the union. I wish all European peoples a happy Europe Day,” the message read.

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