Turkish PM heads to Brussels for tough talks with EU


Date posted: January 20, 2014

ANKARA

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is set to embark on a two-day trip to Brussels, marking his first visit to the EU’s capital since 2009. Erdoğan will hold tough talks on the future of Turkey’s accession process, in the face of mounting criticism over the government’s recent steps to curb judicial independence, restrict the use of the Internet, and limit freedom of expression.

Although the prime minister argues that an ongoing corruption and graft probe engulfing his own ministers is simply a plot hatched by an “illegal gang” that he describes as “parallel state” operated by Fethullah Gülen, a cleric in self-exile in the U.S., EU officials have made clear that such rhetoric has not been bought in Brussels. Furthermore, the EU has issued several statements urging the Turkish government not to curb judicial independence through a controversial recent change to key supreme judicial bodies.

“We are ready to discuss everything, including the HSYK [the Supreme Council of Judges and Prosecutors],” said Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu yesterday. “If there is anything that stands contradictory to EU standards, we will listen to this.”

Erdoğan, accompanied by a large delegation including Davutoğlu and EU Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, is expected to arrive late today in Brussels, where he will meet senior EU officials and representatives of the Turkish community residing in Belgium tomorrow.

A statement issued by the prime ministry stated that Erdoğan would meet with European Council President Herman van Rompuy, European Commission President Jose-Manuel Barroso, and European Parliament President Martin Schulz. Apart from one-on-one meetings, the four officials will come together during a lunch tomorrow, which will be followed by a joint press conference.

Unlike other leaders of candidate countries, Erdoğan is not a frequent visitor of Brussels. His last visit to the EU’s headquarters was January 2009.

The significance being attached to this trip is very high, as it coincides with an unprecedented internal crisis that has thrown Erdoğan into a deep struggle against the Gülen movement, also known as “Hizmet” (Service), which has had repercussions on ties with the EU. The government’s rush to step up its control of the judiciary, as well as the massive purge of prosecutors and police officers to impede ongoing corruption and graft probes, have received strong reactions from Brussels. Some European lawmakers have called on the EU Commission to suspend membership negotiations. What fueled the crisis was the government’s insistence to change the structure of the HSYK, a move that has been interpreted as a clear violation of the principle of rule of law and separation of powers.

‘Judicial independence is a must’

Davutoğlu, who is due to accompany Erdogan on his trip, acknowledged that the judicial changes would be high on the agenda. “Judicial independence is a must. But there is a line between judicial independence and the political preferences of executive power. The executive body has the right to conduct its own policies. The judiciary can test the compliance of those things with the law, but the HSYK cannot be turned into a mechanism that puts pressure on judiciary,” he said.

“Nobody should be suspicious of the level of democratization in Turkey. We are ready to listen to all sorts of criticism from the EU” Davutoğlu said, adding that those criticisms must be based on EU norms.

Call to open Chapters 23 and 24

The Turkish foreign minister also said that the EU should open negotiation Chapters 23 and 24, in order to build relations on stronger bases.

Both chapters, on fundamental human rights and the rule of law, are key chapters for the further advancing of negotiations, but are currently blocked by Greek Cyprus.

The minister said he hoped the atmosphere in Turkey would calm down in the next couple of months, claiming most of the recent developments were “manipulations ahead of March 30 local elections.” “We will overcome that crisis establishing more democratic structures based on human rights, and which assign relations with the executive, judicial and legislation in a better way,” Davutoğlu stated.

Source: Hurriyet Daily , January 20, 2014


Related News

Hizmet movement and government

Yavuz Baydar  June 14, 2012 Is it the movement attacking the government, or vice versa? Some believe that it is, some hope that it is, some deny that it is and many others feel deeply concerned that it is. I tend to belong to the latter camp. It is undeniable that the Hizmet movement (aka […]

Turkish school shows EU already chose Turkey

HASAN CÜCÜK, EMRE OĞUZ, COPENHAGEN State Minister and Chief EU Negotiator Egemen Bağış said, “We are trying to get into the EU, but as far as I can see thanks to this school the EU nations already prefer us.” The minister said every Turkish school opened abroad reflected the tolerance of Turkish culture. State Minister […]

Turkey’s Reichstag Fire

President Erdoğan, apparently a firm believer in the adage that a good scandal should never go to waste, authorized an immediate crackdown against so-called Gülenists. The numbers are dizzying. In less than a week after the coup attempt, the government detained 6,823 soldiers, 2,777 judges and prosecutors (including two judges on the Turkish Constitutional Court), and dozens of governors.

Gulen’s message to those who follow his ideals in the midst of defamation by Erdogan regime

I hope that those who set their hearts on a cause will not loosen their hands about working on the world solidarity and universal human values, and they will continue on their way. I hope they do not get shaken by such storms, with Allah’s permission and help. Just like all the things happened until today had passed and became history, these latest incidents will pass and become history, with Allah’s permission.

“Time to Help” launched in England

Time to Help, Kimse Yok Mu Foundation affiliate in Europe, has launched its office in England. The foundation’s officials introduced their proposed projects at a recent publicity event.

Gülen: The Ambiguous Politics of Market Islam in Turkey and the World

The Hizmet Movement is Turkey’s most influential Islamic identity community. Widely praised throughout the early 2000s as a mild and moderate variation on Islamic political identity, the Gülen Movement has long been a topic of both adulation and conspiracy in Turkey, and has become more controversial as it spreads across the world. In Gülen, Joshua D. Hendrick suggests that when analyzed in accordance with its political and economic impact, the Gülen Movement, despite both praise and criticism, should be given credit for playing a significant role in Turkey’s rise to global prominence.

Latest News

Fethullah Gülen’s Condolence Message for South African Human Rights Defender Archbishop Desmond Tutu

Hizmet Movement Declares Core Values with Unified Voice

Ankara systematically tortures supporters of Gülen movement, Kurds, Turkey Tribunal rapporteurs say

Erdogan possessed by Pharaoh, Herod, Hitler spirits?

Devious Use of International Organizations to Persecute Dissidents Abroad: The Erdogan Case

A “Controlled Coup”: Erdogan’s Contribution to the Autocrats’ Playbook

Why is Turkey’s Erdogan persecuting the Gulen movement?

Purge-victim man sent back to prison over Gulen links despite stage 4 cancer diagnosis

University refuses admission to woman jailed over Gülen links

In Case You Missed It

Gülen condemns Pakistan attack, asks Muslims to protect minorities

Society ready for a new constitution, but how about politics?

Turkish anti-terrorism police carried out raids in six cities, detaining at least five people with alleged links to al-Qaida

Zaman Editor-in-Chief Dumanlı faces probe over ‘insult’ to Erdoğan in news report

Kimse Yok Mu delivers iftar meals to homes

“It was so cold, it felt like an arrow through my heart”

“There will be no Turkish Olympiad,” says Erdoğan

Copyright 2024 Hizmet News