World Bulletin/News Desk
President of the European Council Herman Van Rompuy stressed on Thursday the need to change the European Union practices blocking Turkey, saying Turkey has not been invited to the European Union (EU) summits since 2004.
Speaking at the joint press conference with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Turkish capital Ankara, President of the European Council Rompuy said the practices of the EU that exclude Turkey should change as Turkey could not attend the EU summits since 2004.
Rompuy emphasized the European Union's (EU) will to strengthen relations with Turkey, "Turkey is a key partner of the EU with common interests in foreign politics and also in economic relations as the EU's 6th greatest trading partner."
Rompuy, reminding that this year is the 50th anniversary of the Ankara Treaty with the EU, said presidents of the 27 EU member countries reiterated their commitment to Turkey's negotiation process.
President Rompuy also expressed his hope towards opening new negotiation chapters soon, appreciating the judicial reforms especially the 4th judicial package and the stages taken regarding the new constitution as the EU minds fundamental human rights and freedoms such as the freedom of expression.
Touching on the domestic developments in Turkey, Rompuy stated that the EU supports the efforts towards solving the Kurdish issue till the end.
Condemning the Reyhanli blast in Turkish southern border province of Hatay on May 11, Rompuy praised Turkey's efforts to shelter and embrace the Syrian refugees.
"We are in full cooperation with Turkey as the EU. The EU will keep on working with Turkey as well as with all the partners and allies in order to restore peace and stability in Syria. We are ready to provide any kind of assistance for solution and humanitarian aid," he said.
Rompuy also stated that he expects Turkish Premier Erdogan soon in Brussels to discuss on the EU negotiation process also with the Presidents of the EU Commission and EU Parliament.
Meanwhile, President of the European Council Herman Van Rompuy was welcomed by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkish Minister of EU Affairs Egemen Bagis and some other officials with an official ceremony in Ankara.Last Mod: 24 Mayıs 2013, 10:09