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Brussels, 7 June 2012
EU-Turkey Political Dialogue
Remarks by Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy Štefan Füle at the press conference after the Political Dialogue at Ministerial Level in Istanbul:
I would like to thank Foreign Minister Davutoğlu and Minister of EU Affairs Bağis for the open and good discussion we had during the last three hours. It has shown once again that we share many common objectives - the most important of them: keeping the EU-Turkey relations on a positive track, in the spirit of the positive agenda which we have launched in Ankara few weeks ago. This positive agenda being not a substitute to the accession talks but a way to put them back on track.
The launch of positive agenda, as well as the meeting today, proves once again that we want to engage together and we want to solve problems together. We want to re-vitalise and re-energise our relations and we are doing it right now. We deserve dialogue. We deserve joint solution. We deserve positive agenda.
We have touched on a number of issues such as the positive agenda and its implementation, Turkey's constitutional reform, its efforts to increase the respect of human rights and visa liberalisation. Let me express my strong hope that we will be able to find soon compatibility and right sequence of signing and implementing the readmission agreement and delivering on visa-free regime through the visa liberalisation dialogue.
We have talked about the importance we attach to the freedom of expression, where criminal legislation needs to be amended and courts' practices reviewed. And let me repeat what I underscored on the 17th of May in Ankara on the occasion of opening the formal working group on the chapter 23: the importance of the 4th judicial reform package for finally addressing the core of this issue.
During the meeting I also expressed increasing concern about the detentions of lawmakers, academics and students and about the freedom of the press and journalists.
I have also pointed out in that context that the publication of the Commission's annual progress report is drawing nearer and that Turkey may wish to push ahead with reforms – but not only for the sake of the progress report, but mainly for the benefit of all Turkish citizens.
Once more, our meeting was marked by a spirit of optimism and pragmatism: we want to provide new momentum to Turkey's accession process.