Luxembourg's foreign minister voiced support on Tuesday for Turkey's European Union membership bid, saying the 27-member bloc needs Ankara's membership in the union if it wants to become a global player Today`s Zaman reported
"Europe is now a regional player, but we need Turkey if we want a global role. Europe could become a global player together with Turkey," Jean Asselborn, who is also Luxembourg's deputy prime minister, told a joint news conference with his Turkish counterpart, Ahmet Davutoglu, following their bilateral talks in Ankara on Tuesday.
Asselborn said most EU member states favor the continuation of Turkey's accession negotiations, adding that Europe needs Turkey's membership not only for political reasons but also for economic concerns.
Asselborn's remarks come at a time when the future of Turkey's EU membership remained uncertain and accession talks stalled. No single chapter has been opened in the past 12 months which caused further decreases in Turkey's already declining appetite for membership in the 27-nation bloc.
Turkey opened accession talks with the EU in 2005 but has been able to begin talks on only 13 chapters, out of 35, so far. The EU Commission has suspended talks on eight chapters due to Turkey's refusal to open its ports and airports to traffic from EU member Greek Cyprus. In addition, France, a vocal opponent of Turkish membership, also blocks talks on five chapters that it says are directly related to accession.
"Europe is not a fortress, and we need countries around us. Blocking Turkey's membership would be huge mistake for future generations both in Turkey and in Europe," he noted.
Davutoglu told reporters that he discussed with his counterpart bilateral relations during their talks and both countries stressed their cooperation in fight against terrorism and work toward boosting trade volume.
Noting that Luxembourg is a financial center in Europe, Davutoglu said they discussed further advancing relations between Luxembourg and İstanbul, a financial center in Eurasia.
Davutoglu underlined that Luxembourg has always supported Turkey's EU membership, adding that the EU is going through a critical process and that Turkey's membership will contribute to the strengthening of the 27-member club.
He added that both foreign ministers discussed regional issues and political developments in Syria, Egypt, Libya, Tunisia and Morocco.