EU Ambassador to Turkey Jean-Maurice Ripert has said that the European Union and Turkey share the same goal in Egypt, which is establishing peace and democracy in the Middle Eastern country, even if they do not use the same language, Today's Zaman reported.
Speaking to the Diplomacy Correspondents Association on Monday, the EU ambassador commented on various issues, including the European Commission's 2013 Progress Report on Turkey announced on Wednesday, Turkey's EU bid, economic relations between Turkey and the EU and developments in the Middle East. Saying that Turkey is a major player in the region and has very important links with different countries, Ripert said that Turkey and the EU should cooperate with each other to establish democracy based on free elections as soon as possible.
Stating that the EU has previously said that the Muslim Brotherhood has a role to play in the future of Egypt, Ripert commented: "Regarding the Middle East peace process, we agree with Turkey on the major elements, even if sometimes we are not totally convinced by some of the moves of our friends in Hamas."
Underlining the good economic relationships between Turkey and the EU, Ripert noted that despite the economic crisis in the EU, in the first semester of 2013 the EU has increased 7 percent of its share in exports to Turkey and the EU already accounts for 40 percent of Turkey's foreign trade. Stating that EU countries have more than 75 percent direct foreign investment in Turkey, Ripert underscored that the fundamentals of the relationship are very good.
Commenting on Turkey's long-awaited membership to the EU and the recently announced progress report, Ripert said the progress report is a checklist for Turkey and a roadmap showing what needs to be done. The EU ambassador also reiterated that every day the EU commission checks if member countries act in compliance with the acquis and maintained: "There is nothing unfair in the accession process."
Also mentioning the recent reports and research that state Turkish people are increasingly less interested in joining the EU, Ripert said that he has frequently read that Turkish people do not want EU membership anymore but has never actually met anyone who has told him that during his almost two-year period in office. Mentioning the Transatlantic Trends 2013 public opinion survey released in mid-Sept, Ripert told the reporters that 44 percent of Turkish people in favor of Turkey's EU accession is not that bad.