February 8, 2013 - 17:52 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - Ria Oomen-Ruijten, the European Parliament rapporteur on Turkey, has said a renewed mutual agreement in the context of Turkey's EU accession process is needed to maintain a constructive relationship, commenting on a recent statement by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan that the EU's stance on Turkey is “disrespectful”, Today’s Zaman reports.
Speaking about Turkey's EU process last week during a trip to Central Europe, Erdoğan said Turkey was continuing to fulfill its obligations rising out of EU membership negotiations. However, he noted that Turkey's membership process began in 1959 - with the European Economic Community - and was accelerated in 1963.
“And we have been patient all this time. How far we have come? When you look, there is the customs union  and the Helsinki summit [1999, when Turkey was given candidate status] and the official start of Turkey's negotiations. We can call these three important steps. Except for these three, they have only stalled. Has any other country been treated like this? No. This is in essence disrespect to Turkey. What is more natural than us expressing this situation?” Erdoğan said, adding that being an EU reject is not the end of the world.
In comments to Today's Zaman on Erdoğan's remarks, Oomen-Ruijten said Turkey needs to step up its efforts in the reform process, while the EU needs to make renewed efforts for the opening of negotiation chapters.
“There appears to be frustration in Turkey about the lack of progress in the accession negotiations. I believe that to maintain a constructive relationship, renewed mutual engagement in the context of the negotiation process is needed. Mutual engagement means efforts from both Turkey and the EU. Turkey needs to step up its efforts in the reform process, while the EU needs to make renewed efforts for the opening of negotiation chapters. The interdependence between Turkey and the EU can lead to positive results, but only in a context of mutual commitment,” Oomen-Ruijten stated.