EU is far from showing a strategic vision: Turkish FM Fidan

Ankara: Türkiye wants to advance relations with the EU based on a “concrete and positive agenda,” the country’s foreign minister has said.

Presenting the new Foreign Ministry budget to parliament’s Planning and Budget Commission, Hakan Fidan said on Monday that Türkiye remains committed to its EU membership goal and continues to follow constructive policies to improve cooperation and dialogue in all fields.

Fidan said the EU is far from showing a strategic vision from time to time, most recently in its annual report on EU candidate country Türkiye.

“The challenges we face show that Turkish-EU relations are too strategic to be reduced to the narrow-minded pursuit of interests of some member states. Our main expectation from the EU is to take concrete and meaningful steps that will re-accelerate the cooperation between us and our concrete membership process,” he added.

Saying that Türkiye’s “weight and role as a stability and welfare actor” amid regional crises is clear, he said it would be beneficial for both Türkiye and the EU if the EU takes this role into account in all its strategies, including the accession process.

The report repeated criticisms of Türkiye from previous years’ reports on issues such as democracy, fundamental rights, and the judiciary, criticisms that Turkish officials reject.

Türkiye applied for EU membership in 1987, and its accession talks began in 2005. In the years since, the talks have been essentially frozen due to political roadblocks by certain EU members for reasons unrelated to its suitability for membership, according to Ankara.

On the dispute on the island of Cyprus, Fidan said the key to a fair, permanent, and sustainable solution on the island is recognition of the inherent rights of the Turkish Cypriots, their sovereign equality, and equal international status.

“If there is a negotiation, it will be between two states, not between two communities, and the statuses of both parties will be equalised before sitting at the negotiation table,” he added.

Underlining that they will continue to sensitively protect Türkiye’s rights and interests in the Aegean and Eastern Mediterranean, Fidan said they want to advance relations with Greece with a “sincere and constructive dialogue based on a positive agenda.”

“Our relations with Greece are evolving in a positive direction with the help of the solidarity diplomacy that has been shown recently,” he added.

Cyprus has been mired in a decades-long dispute between Turkish Cypriots and Greek Cypriots, despite a series of diplomatic efforts to achieve a comprehensive settlement.

Türkiye fully supports a two-state solution on the island based on sovereign equality and equal international status between its two states.