Following is the message President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan issued on Europe Day:
The announcement of the Schuman Declaration, which laid the foundations of European integration, has been also celebrated as "Europe Day" in our country since the approval of Turkey’s candidacy to the EU membership in 1999.
By developing common policies, the European Union has made significant contributions to the establishment of peace, stability and prosperity in our continent and beyond. However, the Union has been recently facing numerous challenges such as refugee crisis, Islamophobia and xenophobia, financial and fiscal fragilities, the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the membership and the coronavirus pandemic. Overcoming these problems, that threaten the Union and its future, is dependent on solidarity, cooperation and regaining a brave and inclusive perspective.
The Union’s major obstacle in the path of being a strong global actor is the lack of strategic patience and vision. The European Union needs, in the first place, to review its decision-making mechanisms, a new institutional structure, a new vision, and a new inclusive discourse. To this end, “Conference on the Future of Europe '' which initiated today, has started with a right assessment, however it has already narrowed down the debates by not inviting candidate countries.
Turkey, as a part of Europe in terms of historical, geographical and human aspects, is ready to do its part in the resolution of the problems that the European Union has faced and increasing the effectiveness of the Union. It is obvious that the Union cannot endure strongly, without the contribution and the support of our country.
Yet, the European Union has not kept its promises regarding full membership and our accession process has always been hampered. Some member states carried their bilateral problems with Turkey to the EU corridors and hence, Turkey-European Union relations were captured and the Union’s capacity to fight against global challenges has weakened. We wish that the European Union will demonstrate its ability to develop its relations with Turkey based on mutual respect and trust, with a strategic point of view and common sense.
Turkey keeps its determined stance and efforts towards its strategic goal of European Union membership, despite the double standards and obstacles it faces. Turkey’s membership will pave the way for the rise of a Europe, that is more effective at regional and global levels, gives hope not only to its citizens, but also to the people of its neigbourhood as well as the whole World.
With these thoughts, I wish that the ‘‘Europe Day’’ would help the Union to get rid of its strategic blindness and I would like to congratulate the 9 May Europe Day of all the Europeans, foremost my citizens.