9 May Europe Day is the birthday of the European Union, which is one of the most important peace projects in the history of mankind. The process which began 68 years ago with the Schuman Declaration and finally culminated in the European Union has brought peace to the continent which had suffered the shock of wars for centuries. The European Union, which has taken its place in political history of the world as an integral whole of common values, has been a unique inspiration to the Union citizens and the international society with its common policies affecting all areas of social life.
However, developments such as the crises in the international system, Brexit, disputes between EU Member States regarding fundamental areas of policy and the rise of the far right which has increased its share of the votes in Europe has resulted in discussions on the future of Europe; and the waves of migration to the EU have led to the rise of xenophobia and hostility to Islam in many European countries. Even though it is going through many crises now, the EU will be protected from these shocks as long as it adheres to its own strong and deep-rooted values and principles.
Turkey has repeatedly emphasized that the Union needs to shed prejudices and fears that do not befit the spirit of the times and hinders the progress of the countries and return to its fundamental values. The EU needs to fully understand that the way to overcome the crises is Turkey’s membership in the EU. The history of the nearly 60 years of Turkey-EU relations is almost as old as the history of the EU itself. Throughout this history, Turkey-EU relations have at times stalled and have greatly advanced in other times.
Even though our country has encountered a number of impediments ranging from political obstacles to prejudices, it has decisively realised its work and reforms and has set forth a strong will for full membership of the EU. Turkey expects its European counterparts to demonstrate the same will and determination in the accession negotiations. In this framework, the Turkey-EU Summit held in Varna (Bulgaria) on 26 Mart 2018 has been beneficial in restoring confidence in Turkey-EU relations, which had been going through a difficult period. The confirmation of the significance of the Turkey-EU association among leaders, in particular the affirmation of Turkey’s candidacy at the highest level during a period when enlargement policy is once again on the EU agenda is very important for us.
I would like to emphasize that the EU needs to adopt a fair and objective approach based on the will to build a common future regarding Turkey’s full membership in the EU. I sincerely congratulate Turkish citizens and our EU friends on this occasion of Europe Day.