Turkish daily Sabah (03.12.15-online in English) reported that Turkey’s EU Minister and Chief Negotiator Volkan Bozkύr, in the context of his contacts in Brussels, met on Thursday with the EU Enlargement Commissioner Johannes Hahn, the Commissioner for Energy and Climate Action, Miguel Arias Canete, the EU Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, Phil Hogan, the Commissioner for Education, Culture and Sports, Tibor Navracsics and the Chairman of the European Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee, Elmar Brok.
Bozkύr also held a joint press conference with Hahn.
Speaking during the press conference, Hahn stated, inter alia, that in case there is no solution on the Cyprus problem, the EU does not have a plan B on Turkey’s EU negotiation process.
Replying to questions of reporters on the process of the Cyprus negotiations, Hahn said that the progress on the talks is heard warming and expressed hopes for a positive outcome. “It is for this reason that is not necessary to think about a plan B. The only plan that we should focus on, is plan A”, Hahn said.
Also, speaking to a group of journalists who accompanied him on the visit to Brussels, Bozkir said that claims about Turkey becoming Europe’s open air refugee camp in exchange for 3 billion euro, neither reflected the truth nor did it encompass the principal aim of the refugee action plan.
Bozkir rejected the claims that Turkey would turn into an open air refugee camp after the EU deal and called these accusations unjust, adding that they did not reflect the truth. ”After the deal, the EU determines its refugee quotas every year and the refugees will be accepted by Europe systematically and in a manner worthy of human dignity,” he said.
(…)Saying that Chapter 17 will open for negotiations on December 14, Bozkir added that Turkey expected to open five more Chapters for negotiations. ”In addition to this Chapter, we are also expecting five more Chapters to be opened during negotiations. These will include Chapter 23 on political issues, Chapter 24 on justice, freedom and security, Chapter 26 regarding education and culture, and Chapter 31 on international security and defense policies. These articles are all currently blocked by Cyprus so prior to making any decisions regarding the opening of these article discussions, we will start negotiations to on whatever we need to work on”, he said.
Concerning the issue of visa-free travel for Turkish citizens in return for Ankara’s implementation of the readmission agreement, Bozkύr underlined that the readmission agreement must be understood thoroughly. ”We [Turkey] accept our citizens who have entered Europe illegally, without need for a readmission agreement. We also accept the return of those individuals who illegally fled to Europe through Turkey. The main topic of discussion here is the return of those who claim to have illegally entered Europe through Turkey. Turkey will establish a commission to determine whether those individuals really left Turkey. This commission will examine the status of these individuals as well. Following the examination of these cases by the commission Turkey has established, if it is determined that these migrants are indeed from Turkey then we will accept them back.”
Moreover, Turkish Cypriot daily Detay newspaper (04.12.15) reports that Turkey’s EU Minister Bozkir, replying to a question of Haberturk TV channel after the end of the EU-Turkey summit in Brussels, referred to the Cyprus problem and said that they are expecting that a solution on the Cyprus problem will be found by March.