Turkey Renews Push for Full European Union Membership

Poland's Prime Minister Donald Tusk, right, and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan pose for cameras before their meeting in Ankara, Turkey, Wednesday, Dec. 8, 2010. Tusk is in Turkey for a two-day official visit.(AP Photo/Burhan Ozbilici)
AP/Burhan Ozbilici

Turkey’s push for full European Union (EU) membership will receive fresh impetus under reappointed Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, who revealed Tuesday that changes are already being to better coordinate relations with the supranational body.

Cavusoglu told members of the cabinet that the foreign ministry would merge with Turkey’s EU Affairs Ministry to carry out work “under one roof.” His message came just 24 hours day after President Tayyip Erdogan was sworn in as president with sweeping new executive powers, Reuters reports.

The nation first applied to join the open-borders club back in 1987, and its bid is being supported by current Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, who said last year that Turkey should “move closer to Europe rather than moving away from us.”

If Turkey joined, it would be the second largest member state by population, giving it significant voting power, and meaning the free-movement bloc has borders with war-torn Syria.

President Erdoğan confirmed in March membership of the EU remains a “strategic goal” for Turkey under his leadership.

“As Turkey, we have been continuing on our way with the goal of full membership (of the EU) despite all the mines that were planted on our path and barriers in front of us,” he told reporters.

Turkish membership of the European Union was strongly supported by Britain’s former prime minister David Cameron, who said he wanted to “pave the road from Ankara to Brussels”, and the subject proved to be an important long-term concern for Leave voters during the EU referendum.

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