Turkey has pledged to speed up political reforms linked to European Union accession in return for movement on lingering issues with the bloc, including visa-free travel, foreign minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said in Ankara yesterday.
“Reforms have always been a priority for the AKP (Justice and Development Party) government. Under the new (presidential) system, reforms will continue to be a priority for Turkey,” Cavusoglu told a joint press conference following a Reform Action Group meeting, also attended by three other ministers.
The reform group also vowed to improve basic freedoms and the judiciary as it convened for the first time since Turkey switched to an executive presidential system after June 24 elections.
“We would like to achieve results in return for our efforts, including visa liberalisation,” Cavusoglu said, also adding that Turkey and the EU must restart talks on a modernised customs union agreement.
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Turkey and the EU began accession talks in 2005; however, negotiations have largely stalled, with no new negotiating chapters opened since June 2016.
Relations soured after a failed July 2016 coup attempt and a subsequent state of emergency.
Both sides, however, have been trying to soothe tensions, particularly since Ankara ended the nearly two-year state of emergency in July.
Ankara does not expect new chapters to be opened under Austria’s EU presidency, but wants to work more closely with the Council of Europe, Cavusoglu said.
Justice Minister Abdulhamit Gul yesterday pledged “even more human rights and freedoms” and vowed to improve cooperation with the European Court of Human Rights.
© Gulf Times Newspaper 2019