“The U.K. and Turkey will continue to give direction to Europe’s politics,” Turkey’s EU minister said Wednesday.
Omer Celik said the U.K.’s exit from the EU would not change the fact that the country is one of the greatest powers of Europe.
Celik’s remarks came in an address at the Royal Institute of International Affairs, Chatham House on his second day of his London visit.
“The U.K., Europe’s gateway to the Atlantic, and Turkey, Europe’s gate to Asia, will continue to shape Europe’s politics,” Celik said.
“Similarly, even if it is not an EU member, Turkey has been a European power and it continues its journey as a European democracy for hundred years,” he said.
The power of democracy in Turkey was seen “in the struggle people showed to protect it during the FETO coup attempt on July 15,” he added.
Celik also said Turkey’s contribution to Europe’s security “was clear both in the management of the migrant crisis and in the fight against Daesh”.
“The U.K. and Turkey will be the two pillars of the European architecture in the future, just like they are today,” Celik added.
In his speech titled “Europe and Turkey: A Common Future”, Celik said Turkey is following the Brexit process as it will “change the EU fundamentally.”
Also speaking about the global balance, Celik said the world was in a “transitional period”.
Celik said: “We are going through a sensitive era… The former stabilities in the globe are changing; we are to face a new world. Many analyses describe this situation as a global world without leaders… The leadership of the Western bloc is under discussion, the rise of China and Russia is gaining pace.”
Turkey’s EU minister went onto say that “far-right parties’ rise to second position in many countries or gaining a position to become a leading partner show that the liberal order is under threat from within Europe”.
“The shaken self-integrity of Europe with the Brexit decision, as well as the extreme power-gaining of the far right in Europe, weaknesses in the fight against terror and irregular migration cause the questioning of trust in the European project and the EU’s loyalty to universal values,” Celik said.
“They [Europe] need to take inclusion into their agenda in order to eliminate polarization…to stop the poisoning of society with hate speech, Islamophobia and anti-Semitism,” he said.
Celik concluded with his remarks on Turkey-EU relations.
“It is clear that recent statements to exclude Turkey and cut Turkey-EU negotiations will not serve the great future the Europe has stated.
“Turkey, as a sovereign country, is providing security to Europe while it is protecting its own borders from Daesh and the PKK terror threats. The protection of Ankara’s security means the protection of security in Berlin, London, Rome and Paris.”
By Ahmet Gurhan Kartal in London
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