STOCKHOLM (Today’s Zaman)—The President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, on Saturday dismissed talk that Turkey had dropped its interest in pursuing its European Union membership bid, stating that EU membership is still an important strategic goal for Turkey.
“Turkey pursues a multidimensional foreign policy as a requirement of its historical and cultural responsibilities. Turkey needs the EU as much as the EU needs Turkey,” said Çavuşoğlu, who spoke Saturday at a conference in Sweeden dedicated to Turkey’s role in the EU.
He also dismissed speculation of an “axis shift” and said Turkey’s active participation in international organizations such as PACE, the United Nations, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and NATO is proof that there is no “shift of axis” in Turkish foreign policy.
Speaking about the constitutional reform package that will go to a national referendum on Sept. 12, the PACE president said Turkey will get closer to EU standards once the public endorses the changes. “We attach great importance to this constitutional package,” he added.
Çavuşoğlu also noted that Turkey has good relations with Europe and with its own neighbors and that Turkey is eager to improve ties with countries in the region. In that regard he pointed out Turkey’s relations with neighboring Armenia, saying that Ankara would normalize ties with Yerevan but “we want Armenia to withdraw from the territories it has occupied in Azerbaijan.”