Turkey’s EU membership has always been a priority for the business world, TÜSİAD President Haluk Dinçer said on Friday, Turkish daily ‘Zaman’ reports.
Speaking at a conference organised by the Turkish Industrialists and Businessmen’s Association (TÜSİAD) and the Brookings Institute (Washington), Dinçer stressed the need to revive the EU accession negotiations. He called for progress in the rule of law and liberty as Turkey slides away from the criteria for EU membership.
During the conference titled “Turkey-EU Relations: Future Scenarios,” held in Istanbul, Dinçer underlined the interdependence of Turkey and the EU, despite set-backs in the accession talks because of Turkey’s domestic issues and problems within the EU.
In his opening speech, TÜSİAD’s president said that the business world regarded EU membership as a priority and despite regression, Turkey’s ambitions to join the EU have served as an anchor.
“We have to make progress in terms of the freedoms of the media and expression,” Dinçer said. He expressed concern about the perception that Turkey and the EU no longer shared the same interests and emphasised that Turkey has no meaningful alternatives to full EU membership.
Turkey, he said, could not sustain an economy based on high consumption in an undemocratic state.
Pointing to the crawling pace of Turkey’s accession process, he said that there was no clear time frame for membership, although Turkey had formally begun the negotiation process nine years ago.
“Negotiations must be revived”, he said, adding that Chapters 23 and 24 were the first chapters which needed to be opened,
Turkey has said that it wants to be an EU member by 2023, which would mark the centennial of the formation of the Turkish Republic, Dinçer said that his country should back up the rhetoric with action.