Turkey Once Again Rules Out Privileged Partnership with EU

Turkey Once Again Rules Out Privileged Partnership with EU
# 12 August 2010 03:36 (UTC +04:00)
Baku – APA. Turkey’s chief negotiator for EU talks reiterated on Wednesday Turkish position on accession talks with EU and ruled out any alternative other than full membership, APA reports quoting turkishny.com web-page.
Egemen Bagis, who met Belgian Deputy Premier and Foreign Minister Steven Vanackere in Istanbul, said, "at such a point today, it would be an insult to Turkey to suggest something like privileged partnership. We can no way accept such an offer."
"I have repeated maybe a hundred times," Bagis told a joint news conference with Vanackere. "Let me say it again. There is no alternative such as privileged partnership in 120,000-page EU acquis."
In 2005, Turkey started accession talks with EU. However, a year later EU suspended talks in eight of the 35 chapters which candidate countries must successfully negotiate prior to full membership. A total of 13 chapters have opened since that date.
None of the EU-member states have officially proposed privileged partnership for Turkey, Bagis said, adding that there had also been no EU leaders using the term "privileged partnership" over the past one year.
"Turkey-EU integration is in the interest of both sides," Bagis said.
His remarks were supported by Vanackere whose country holds the six-month rotating EU presidency.
Vanackere said EU considered Turkey as a strategic partner and confirmed that EU acquis does not include anything such as "privileged partnership."
He said negotiations with all candidate countries were open-ended and that they aimed at full membership at the end.