World Bulletin / News Desk
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Monday sought to polish his EU-hopeful country's credentials as a regional power, saying the European club needed Turkey if it wanted a key role in global affairs.
"The European Union should get strength from Turkey if it wants to be a global economic and political power. Today, the EU needs Turkey, not the other way round," the Turkish premier told a joint press appearance with his Czech counterpart Petr Necas in Prague, the Czech capital, the first stop of Erdogan's three-nation European tour.
Erdogan said Turkey was one of the few countries which came closest to meeting the Maastricht criteria even if the country was not an EU member and it was under no obligation to comply with the conditions which EU members need to meet in order to adopt the single EU currency.
The Turkish premier slammed the Union over problems which his country faced in its accession talks, accusing the EU of "rejecting to acknowledge Turkey as a nation that would add a vision to the EU both politically and economically."
Tayyip Erdogan said that Turkey's efforts to become an EU member continued for 59 years.
Asked by a journalist when he planned to visit Brussels and if the Shanghai Five was an alternative to the EU for Turkey, Erdogan said that they would visit Brussels at a date to be set up by Turkish diplomats and the Turkish EU Ministry.
"Our visit to Brussels would have many dimensions. The visit has an EU dimension and a Belgian dimension. There are 35 chapters to be discussed," Erdogan said.
"I bring up the issue of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. Some people get bothered by this. Is the Shanghai Cooperation Organization an alternative to the EU- They are two separate entities. There is no reason for anyone to be bothered. EU member countries conduct trade with the members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization successfully. Turkey will naturally be in all kinds of quest," Erdogan stated.
Referring to EU member countries, Prime Minister Erdogan underlined that "the standards in many EU countries were not as equal of those Turkey reached within the EU acquis. Many EU countries have failed to reach Maastricht criteria".
TURKEY'S RELATIONS WITH CZECH REPUBLIC
Erdogan has stated they had reached a consensus on creating a high-level cooperation council between Turkey and Czech Republic.
Erdogan stressed that they pay high attention to Turkey's relations with Czech Republic and added, in Euro-Atlantic area, they see them as an important ally.
Erdogan made clear what they discussed with Necas in their meeting and said, in order to improve the cooperation and develop relations in any field between Turkey and Czech Republic, they assessed what it could be done.
He pointed out that between the two countries there was a high cooperation potential in the fields of military, politics and economy.
He added, they had a chance to assess the regional and international issues which involve both countries from a different point of view.
"I am happy to share the fact that we have the same thoughts about international peace, stability and enhancement of collaboration. To discuss how to bring our strategic relations to the future and deepen our relations and cooperation, I see we have come to an understanding to form a high-level cooperation council between Turkey and Czech Republic," Turkish premier said.
Erdogan added that the economic figures between the two countries are lower than the potential and said, by the end of 2012, the trade volume between Turkey and Czech Republic was $2.5 billion.
Erdogan said, "Turkey and Czech Republic have to take further steps and by the end of 2015, we have to bring this number to minimum $5 billion. I believe both countries have the power to achieve that."Last Mod: 04 Şubat 2013, 15:43