Turkish FM says Turkey's EU determination to continue The Turkish government hoped to promote negotiations with the same determination during France's rotating presidency, Turkey's Foreign Minister Ali Babacan said on Friday.
Babacan said the political obstacles before opening a few more chapter headings for negotiations between Turkey and the European Union could be removed in the coming period, at a press briefing at Ankara's Esenboga International Airport prior to his departure for Brussels on Friday.
"We hope to open as many chapters as possible for negotiations during France's rotating presidency," Babacan was quoted by the Anatolian Agency as saying.
"I am traveling to Brussels to evaluate the negotiation process with the EU Commission. I will hold talks with the EU Commissioner in charge of Enlargement Olli Rehn and the EU commissioner in charge of energy," Babacan said.
We have started to get some positive signals following our moves, said Babacan, for instance, the chapter headings on energy, as well as economic and monetary policy. These chapters have long been ready to open, he added.
"Opening of these chapters is completely related to political approaches but some chapters are obstructed by some member countries," said Babacan, stating that those obstacles could be removed in the coming period, as Turkish officials receive positive signals from the Union.
France is one of the biggest opponents to Turkey's EU membership. Paris had blocked opening of some chapters in Turkish negotiations, saying they are directly related to the "accession". France also attempts to remove the word "accession" from every document relating to Turkey.
France took over the EU presidency from Slovenia on July 1 and vowed to open at least two more chapters with Turkey in the next six months. Turkey retreated that it expects France to act in line with the pacta sunt servanda principle.
MEDUNION NOT ALTERNATIVE
Babacan also said the France-suggested project would not be an alternative to Turkey's EU bid, when asked about a possible surprise regarding the Union for the Mediterranean and Turkey's EU process.
"We took pledges over pledges. French President Nicolas Sarkozy called Mr. Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan and gave a guarantee," Babacan said. "We have to rely on these pledges if a European leader gave his word."
Erdogan will travel to Paris on Saturday to attend the official launch at a summit of European and Mediterranean leaders on July 13.
EU leaders approved in March a French plan for a Mediterranean Union aimed at strengthening cooperation with countries from Morocco to Turkey. The project is expected to be officially launched at a summit of European and Mediterranean leaders in Paris on July 13.
Turkey had earlier announced it would attend the meeting in Paris if it decides to join the project. Turkey has concerns as the proposal by Sarkozy to form a loose grouping of Mediterranean countries has been seen as an alternative for "the country's relations with the EU”.
Babacan also said that Turkey would be a part of this new establishment, looking out for both its interests and the Mediterranean's common benefits.
"The Summit of Union for Mediterranean will focus on the goals and working methods of the entity. We will make decisions for the development of peace, stability and welfare in the Mediterranean region," Babacan said.
Babacan will also proceed to Paris to attend the Summit of Union for Mediterranean, after attending his meetings in Brussels.