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PREFACE At the 1999 Helsinki European Council, Member States declared that Turkey is “destined to join the Union on the basis of the same criteria as applied to the other Candidate States”. This position has been reconfirmed on many occasions until the opening of the negotiations in 2005. Turkey’s accession process is now facing a challenging phase. Negotiations have slowed down. Nevertheless, the Commission remains fully committed to the 1999 pledge and to the negotiations mandate received from the Member States in 2005. Turkey needs the EU and the EU needs Turkey. The EU-Turkey relationship is strong and based on a deep economic integration as well as joint strategic interests, in particular following the revolutions across the Middle East and Northern Africa. 40% of Turkey’s foreign trade goes to the EU, and 80% of foreign direct investments in Turkey, including a high proportion of technology, come from the EU. In addition, thousands of Turkish students, professors and researchers go every year to the EU in the framework of the Community Programmes. Furthermore, we cannot ignore the strategic role of Turkey as a regional player. The events in the Arab world have highlighted Turkey’s stability, prosperity, and democracy. Citizens in these countries look at Turkey, as they look at the EU: as a source of inspiration. The European Union and Turkey have much to gain by working together to enhance regional security, democracy, stability and growth. At the same time, a number of challenges must be tackled in order to give new momentum to the accession process. Turkey has to make further progress regarding the respect of fundamental rights, in particular as regards freedom of expression, minority rights and freedom of religion. In this context, political reforms remain at the core of the accession process. Obviously, the Cyprus issue weighs on the negotiations. Progress in the comprehensive settlement talks and full implementation by Turkey of the Additional Protocol of the Ankara Agreement would give a huge boost to the accession negotiations. We strongly encourage Turkey to support in concrete terms progress in the UN talks, especially following the meeting of 7 July between the leaders and the UN Secretary General. Our common challenge is to further deepen EU-Turkey integration. The accession negotiations are the best tool to do this. They provide for further economic integration, but also help anchor the rule of law, democracy and human rights. It is now time to give the negotiations new momentum, and I am positive the European Union can do that together with our Turkish friends. STEFAN FÜLE Commissioner of Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy 6

Turkey on the European Doorstep  

A Publication based on the International Conference organised at the European Parliament/Brussels by Dr. ELENI THEOCHAROUS, Member of the Eu...

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