Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu have sent reconciliatory messages to the European Union, with the former saying that Ankara is ready to set a "positive agenda" with the bloc.
Addressing the ambassadors of EU member states on Jan. 12, Erdoğan voiced readiness to put the relations between Turkey and the EU "back on track," adding that he expects the envoys to support "turning a new page."
"It is in our hands to successfully transform EU-Turkey relations in 2021," he told the gathering in Ankara.
"Just as our country's nearly 60-year membership process is a strategic choice for us, the EU’s acceptance of our country to full membership will also be an ontological choice for the future of the union."
Though Turkey first sought EU membership decades ago, it was only in 2005 that it officially became a candidate for full membership, and in recent years the accession process has stalled.
Erdoğan said that 2020 was not an easy year for Turkish-EU relations, adding that some EU member countries aimed to resolve the bilateral problems with Turkey “in the halls of the EU."
"The Turkey-EU agenda has been abused by hiding behind the pretext of unity and solidarity," he said.
The gathering with the president followed a similar meeting on Jan. 12 between the envoys and Çavuşoğlu, who said that Turkey is determined to press ahead on EU accession reforms.
“We are determined to apply the reform agenda,” Çavuşoğlu said. “The EU should not hinder but give support to us."
Noting that the bloc and Turkey are tied closely, he said, "Turkey is in Europe, and Europe is part of our destiny. The same thing applies to Europe."
Turkey plays a large role in the security of Syria, Libya, the Caucasus, Balkans, Middle East, and the Black Sea regions, and also has a key part in migration, energy, trade, supply chains, transportation, communication, security, counter-terrorism, NATO, and defense, Çavuşoğlu said.
“All these issues are vital for both the security and prosperity of Europe. If we act together, we can make significant changes in all areas. As Turkey, we are ready for this partnership," he said.
Unfortunately, he said, the desired cooperation between Turkey and the EU had failed to materialize over the years due to some bilateral issues that remained unsolved, and "this was also a loss for Europe."
Çavuşoğlu said they have repeatedly urged the use of dialogue to solve these bilateral issues, and in this process, they expect progress in concrete areas in relations with the EU.
"Turkey is dependent on the EU accession process. If we find a positive response from the EU, we also show the necessary will," he said.