Ahead of the new round of EU-Turkey accession talks that kick off tomorrow, GUE/NGL MEP and Coordinator of the EU-Kurdistan friendship group Jürgen Klute has commented:

“After three years of stagnation, the re-opening of EU accession negotiations with Turkey is good news. EU citizens of Turkish and Kurdish origin have been waiting a long time to see Turkey as an integral part of the European Union. While friendly relations with EU governments are positive for Turkey, they are no substitute for fully-fledged and sustainable political integration to the European Union.”

He continued: “To meet European regional policy standards Turkey will have to make ambitious economic convergence efforts. Although Turkey has made impressive economic progress over the last few years it is important that no province is excluded from this progress. In its new progress report the European Commission calls for the implementation of local self-government in line with Council of Europe recommendations. Given Turkey’s cultural diversity, this should be complemented by an ambitious decentralisation reform.”

Klute also highlighted that while the re-opening of accession talks on regional policy is a step forward, the further development of the accession process can only be quick and fruitful if the country progresses on democratisation, safeguarding freedom of the press and a successful conclusion of the Imrali process. 

He concluded: “I am confident that we will soon have further good news on the accession process if forthcoming negotiations are conducted in a sincere, ambitious, open and respectful manner by both sides.”

Brussels, November 4th 2013