Posted on 14 February 2011
Another step towards Turkey joining the EU.
The Justice and Development Party, or AKP, has drafted a new national program regarding European Union accession, in a sign that the government plans to reinvigorate EU-backed reforms.
The 400-page Turkish National Program for the Adoption of the EU Acquis, which outlines timetables and the government’s commitments to comply with EU standards, is made up of four parts: introduction, political criteria, economic criteria and membership commitments. The plan includes 120 to 130 legal amendments and 342 secondary regulations.
This is a well-grounded program that takes into account Turkey’s realities, government spokesman, Cemil Çiçek, told reporters after a Cabinet meeting late Monday.
The document will be published in hard copy after Foreign Minister Ali Babacan’s meetings with the opposition parties and nongovernmental organizations, noted Çiçek.
Following the first wave of speedy reforms between 2002 and 2004, the government’s performance paradoxically slowed, despite the formal launch of accession negotiations with the EU in October 2005. The domestic fluctuations on the political landscape — including the painful presidential election process in 2007 leading to snap elections and the closure case filed at the Constitutional Court to disband the ruling party — had a negative influence on Ankara’s bumpy path to the EU.
In a move that might appear to be a fair response to EU support during the lingering court process, the government has pushed forward with reforms. However, what counts for Brussels is not the launch of a program on paper but how speedily and effectively it will be implemented by the AKP. Although EU officials are in summer recess until the end of August, the number one agenda item on Turkey’s desk in Brussels after their return will be the reforms. The government’s further efforts will be a serious message demonstrating Ankara’s firm commitment to sticking to EU objectives after a long period of fatigue.
Turkish Daily News – August 20, 2008 (Abridged)