Press release

AFR Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen has met the Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Mesut Yilmaz


Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen has met with Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Mesut Yilmaz this morning in the Prime Minister’s Office in Copenhagen. Mr. Yilmaz subsequently met with Minister of Foreign Affairs Per Stig Møller. Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen states on this occasion: “I have had a very fruitful discussion this morning with the Deputy Prime Minister Yilmaz. We have discussed the situation in Turkey, the latest package of political reform, and the relationship between Turkey and the EU. During our meeting, I have been encouraged by the determination of the Turkish government to continue the economic and political reform process. These are positive developments which must continue. Many of the elements in the latest package of political reforms deal with very sensitive issues. Turkey has addressed questions like death penalty and mother tongue issues. This is a courageous step by the Turkish Parliament. I would like to congratulate the Turkish Parliament and especially the Turkish people on this package. We have noted how positive the package has been received by the Turkish public opinion and we are pleased to see that the desire for reforms is shared so widely. It was very significant that a vast majority of the Turkish political spectrum voted in favour of this package. This is very positive and it confirms the political will that exists in Turkey to move closer to the EU. It is the Presidency’s general impression that this package constitutes a very significant step in the right direction towards Turkey fulfilling the Copenhagen political criteria. The Commission will assess in detail the content of this package in its forthcoming Regular Report, as well as other legal initiatives taken since last year’s Regular Report. The Regular Report will be published in October. On that basis, new decisions regarding Turkey’s candidature could be taken in the light of developments at the European Council in Copenhagen. We encourage the Turkish government to move ahead with implementing these and other reforms initiated. I know that Turkey cannot reform its laws and its practices overnight, but it is important to show that reforms are carried out in practice. The sooner the better. The criteria for membership of the European Union were established in Copenhagen in 1993. They consist of political and economic criteria. Turkey has, like all other candidate countries, to fulfil all the political criteria in order to start accession negotiations. In conclusion, this package seems to be a very positive step in the right direction. By saying that, I also indicate that Turkey has come much further towards the goal of starting accession negotiations.”