World Bulletin / News Desk
In an interview with German daily Die Welt on Wednesday, Asselborn said all points of disagreement that recently strained talks between EU and Turkey on visa liberalization, including differences on an anti-terrorism legislation, could be resolved.
“If the situation in Turkey would calm down again and Turkey would show willingness to comply with the Council of Europe, I believe that a solution regarding the anti-terrorism legislation would be possible in the end of this year, or in early 2017,” he said.
Visa liberalization has been one of the key promises of the EU as part of a deal hammered out in March to enhance EU-Turkey cooperation in addressing the refugee crisis and to accelerate Turkey’s EU membership talks.
But the foiled July 15 coup attempt in Turkey and Ankara’s declaration of a three-month state of emergency in the aftermath of the events has led to uncertainty about the future of these talks.
The EU has repeatedly called on Ankara to observe rule of law in the course of its probe into the coup attempt.
Turkish officials have criticized the EU for failing to show solidarity with Turkish people against the coup attempt by Gulenists, also known as the Fetullah Terrorist Organization.
Asselborn acknowledged EU’s misjudgment of the situation following the coup attempt in Turkey.
“We have not fully realized the depth of the wound,” he said, referring to the insufficient understanding in Europe about the huge public outcry of Turkish people to the coup-plotters.
“People who took to the streets against the coup have also demonstrated for democracy. We have somewhat underestimated this,” he said.
Asselborn called for reviving EU-Turkey ties, underlining the strategic importance of Turkey for the 28-member bloc.
“European Union would have more weight in the world politics with a European Turkey. Furthermore, we would show that a Muslim country can also become a member of the Union,” he said.