Minister for EU Affairs and Chief Negotiator Ömer Çelik evaluated the agenda and responded to the questions of the press at the Turkish Embassy in London, United Kingdom.
Minister for EU Affairs Ömer Çelik stated that using radicalism together with Islam is one of the biggest mistakes by Europe and added:
“Associating radicalism with any religion or ethnic group is actually what the radicals want, thus they can say that there is a conventional struggle between themselves and the West and create an ideological attraction.”
Minister for EU Affairs Ömer Çelik was also critical of the European politicians who argued that Turkey-EU relations should be frozen and said “Extremists would probably be pleased to hear that as a secular country with Muslim majority and a country under the rule of law Turkey’s relationship with the EU has come to an end. Therefore, statements indicating to ‘freeze or suspend Turkey-EU relations’ would only be a narrative in support of these extremists.”
Defining some EU Member States’ giving instructions to EU institutions as an "EU crisis", Minister for EU Affairs Ömer Çelik added, “The fact that Germany is recently acting as a director of the European Commission and the Council may unfortunately lead to consequences that would strengthen the arguments of these racist groups. This is not good for Europe.” Minister for EU Affairs Ömer Çelik also evaluated Turkey’s current relations with the EU and with Germany, and indicated the following:
“Turkey continues to pursue its EU full membership perspective and strategy. We are making efforts in this direction. Likewise, Germany is an important ally and friend of Turkey. However, the recent negative attitudes of the German government especially during the referendum process created an atmosphere that we no more could stay silent.”
-“The World is in a phase of transition”
Highlighting that the world is in a phase of transition and that the status-quo is changing, Minister for EU Affairs Ömer Çelik said, “The EU is a region with economic and political stability and we are making efforts to maintain Turkey-EU relations in a manner that would be to the national interests of Turkey.” Minister Çelik also emphasised that arguments indicating that Turkey distanced itself from the EU did not reflect the reality.
- “The EU should continue practicing its negotiation skills”
Minister for EU Affairs Ömer Çelik stated that Turkey’s continued adherence to the European Convention on Human Rights under the state of emergency should be considered as an indicator that Turkey is open to dialogue.
Minister for EU Affairs Ömer Çelik argued that the EU should also be open to dialogue with Turkey and added:
“Negotiation skills of the EU makes it superior to other unions and organisations. The protection of this skill is of utmost importance. Turkey is mostly being criticised on issues such as freedom of expression and rule of law. If Turkey were to abstain from discussing these issues, then it would not ask to open Chapters 23 and 24 to negotiations. We want to discuss these issues and make progress on them.”
Minister for EU Affairs Ömer Çelik indicated that providing prerequisites for the opening of the Chapters was against the nature of the accession negotiations and asked, “Why do we have Chapters then? We should be using the negotiation Chapters to be in dialogue and to make progress together.”
- Meeting with Islamophobia experts in London
Giving details about his official talks in London, Minister Çelik said he would meet with leading Islamophobia experts in U.K. the following day. Minister Çelik stated that prominent academicians would also participate in the meeting along with the representatives of Muslim and Jewish communities, and added “This is the first time we are organising such a meeting and we want to improve EU’s sensitivity on this issue.”
Minister for EU Affairs and Chief Negotiator Ömer Çelik said he would deliver a speech on the ‘Future of Europe’ at the Chatham House, the Royal Institute of International Affairs, and added “Turkey is a European state, it is a European democracy. Therefore we do have and will continue to have something to say about the future of Europe, and I will make a comprehensive evaluation on it in my speech tomorrow.”