Turkey-EU relations to gain a new momentum, EU minister hopes
Turkish Minister for EU Affairs and Chief Negotiator Mevlut Cavusoglu expressed hope that Turkey- EU relations will gain a new momentum during Greece's EU term presidency, Anadolu Agency reported.
Greece will take over the rotating six month presidency of the EU on January 1 from Lithuania, assuming it for the fifth time.
Greece has supported Turkey's EU membership process despite the Cyprus dispute and there have been positive developments in Greece-Turkey bilateral relations based on mutual trust in recent years, the minister said.
The island has been divided into Greek and Turkish sides since a Greek Cypriot coup was followed by a Turkish peace mission to aid Turkish Cypriots in the north in 1974.
Receiving Lithuanian Ambassador to Turkey, Kestutis Kudzmanas in his office, Cavusoglu said Turkey- EU relations gained a new momentum during Lithuania's EU term presidency.
The minister said Chapter 22 on regional policies for Turkey's EU membership was opened while Lithuania was assuming the term presidency.
"We are expecting new chapters to be opened during Greece's EU term presidency," Cavusoglu said.
The minister also expressed gratitude to Lithuania for the support it has given for Turkey's EU accession process.
"I am very happy that our first term presidency was not only successful for Lithuania but also for Turkey," Ambassador Kudzmanas said.
Turkey made a big progress and successful reforms in different areas, he added.
"We wish to maintain this momentum," the ambassador said.
Kudzmanas said Turkey's signing the readmission agreement with the EU in mid-December in exchange for launching talks on visa liberalization for Turkish citizens was also an important step.
The readmission agreement with the EU necessitates the processing of illegal immigrants who enter the EU through Turkey.
"Lithuania has firmly supported Turkey's EU entry process and will continue to support although our term presidency is due to end," Kudzmanas also said.