Turkey wants no political obstacle to EU accession

ANKARA

Turkey wants no more political obstacles on the road to EU membership, the country’s foreign minister said Thursday.

“If it is about technical barriers, we are ready to meet them,” Mevlut Cavusoglu said while addressing a joint news conference with his Latvian counterpart Edgars Rinkevics in Latvia’s capital Riga.

“But membership is based on the chapters. And all those chapters have opening and closing benchmarks and we are ready to meet the opening benchmarks and the closing benchmark.

“If Turkey doesn’t meet the benchmarks, no chapter will be open or no chapter will be close, fair enough,” he said.

Turkey applied for the EU membership in 1987 and accession talks began in 2005.

He went on to say some member countries have been against Turkey since negotiations began with the EU. “Because they do not want to share power with Turkey.”

Negotiations stalled in 2007 due to opposition from the Greek Cypriot administration, Germany and France.

Additionally, speaking on a deal with Russia to buy S-400 missile defense systems, Cavusoglu said Turkey needs to acquire such systems.

For at least a decade, Turkey has tried to purchase such systems from its allies, including the U.S., he said, highlighting a remark by NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg who has said any NATO ally can buy defense systems from any country.

Touching upon Turkey’s EU accession, Rinkevics said Latvia considers Turkey as an important partner for the EU and NATO and the constructive dialogue between the EU and Turkey is needed.

Also, on S-400 missile defense systems, Rinkevics said the issue of purchasing S-400 has its own political and technical sides.

Latvia should try to solve this issue. If there are any issues between the Allies, it should be resolved, he concluded.

Cavusoglu is also due to meet with Parliament Speaker Inara Murniece and Artis Pabriks, Deputy Prime Minister and Defense Minister.

Washington has balked at Turkey’s purchase of the Russian S-400s.

U.S. officials have suggested Turkey buy the U.S. Patriot missile system rather than the S-400, arguing it is incompatible with NATO systems and is a threat to the F-35 fifth-generation stealth aircraft.

Turkey responded it was the U.S. refusal to sell it Patriots that led it to seek other sellers, adding that Russia offered a better deal, including technology transfers.

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