Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey

“A difficult new era has begun for Turkey-EU relations”

13.12.2019 / İstanbul

The Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey (TOBB) President M. Rifat Hisarcıklıoğlu said that a difficult and new era has begun for Turkey-EU relations, accession negotiations have stopped, and that the Customs Union is no longer talked about.​

Speaking at the Foundation for Economic Development (IKV) 57th General Assembly, TOBB President Hisarcıklıoğlu stated that the Economic Development Foundation is the window of the business world to the European Union, adding, “The history of İKV in fact parallels Turkey's history of relations with the European Union. IKV is the concrete support of the business community to Turkey's relations with the European Union. I hereby commemorate the veterans of our business world who demonstrated their vision of establishing IKV with heartfelt gratitude. They have made a permanent investment in Turkey's future. They left a very important legacy to the business world, to future generations.”

Hisarcıklıoğlu put forth that İKV has taken on the task of being a school, library and teacher of European Union for the business world; informing all segments of society about the European Union; and providing consultation to the government and the public administration on the matter without expecting any financial compensation.

Hisarcıklıoğlu stated that they will continue to contribute to the work of IKV as TOBB and the Chamber and Commodity Exchanges, “A difficult new era has begun for Turkey-EU relations. Accession negotiations have stalled. It's not even on the agenda anymore. There's no talk of Customs Union. The only positive agenda between us is Syrian immigrants. The European Union has pledged €6 billion in support of Syrian refugees in Turkey. So far, it has transferred only €2.7 billion. A €4.3 billion contract was signed under the fund. The €1.6 billion portion is expected to be paid in 2020.”

Noting that financial aid has also been cut down, the TOBB President said, “Unfortunately, Turkey, as a country in the accession process, faces EU sanctions. Since July, high-level meetings between Turkey and the EU have been halted. However, hope must not be lost. EU Institutions have been appointed new leadership. I think that the phone call between the President of the European Commission and our President is important in this sense. As a result, the President of the European Commission, on his first day in office, met with our President. Soon afterwards, the European Commission sent two senior members to Ankara. That's a good start. Now we need to find more positive agenda issues.”

Hisarcıklıoğlu stated that, in this difficult period, the HRV has a very important task and responsibility; in July 2020, Germany will take over the rotating EU presidency and they can turn this to Turkey’s advantage.

Stating that, last month, the Turkish-German Chamber of Commerce and Industry held its 14th General Assembly was held in Berlin to which the former Vice-President of the EU Commission Günter Verheugen was invited, Hisarcıklıoğlu said, “Mr. Verheugen made two important highlights there. Turkey belongs in the Europe without doubt in the economic, commercial and cultural sphere and is one of the indispensable pillars of the Western bloc. He also pointed out that the EU without Turkey has no future. So let's strive for a positive focus on relations during the German presidency. Thus, let us regain momentum in deepening the disrupted integration between Turkey and the European Union.”

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