CHP leader Kilicdaroglu in Brussels to promote Turkey's EU bid
Main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu yesterday arrived in Brussels for talks with senior European Union officials and leaders of various political groups at the European Parliament, as well as business circles and think-tanks, to promote Turkey's EU bid. As part of his three-day stay in the EU capital, Kilicdaroglu is expected to have a busy schedule to make his party's support for Turkey's EU accession bid better known among EU leaders. Kilicdaroglu yesterday met with Martin Schultz, the head of the EP's Socialists and Democrats group, as well as Belgian Parliament Speaker Andre Flahaut, who is also the leader of Belgium's Socialist Party. Kilicdaroglu also had talks with businesspeople at the offices of the Turkish Industrialists' and Businessmen's Association (TUSIAD) and Turkish Union of Chambers and Commodities Exchanges (TOBB), and attended a dinner hosted by Turkish Ambassador Murat Ersavci in his honor. Accompanied by CHP Deputy Chairman Haluk Koc, Deputy Secretary General Gulsun Bilgehan, and EU Representative Kader Sevinc, Kilicdaroglu is set to continue his talks today by meeting with EU Commissioner for Enlargement Stephan Fule and European Socialist Party head Poul Nyrup Rasmussen, among others. He is also scheduled to make a speech on the social democrat vision for Turkey's EU accession bid at a roundtable meeting held by the European Policy Center. In related news, before the CHP leader's departure for Brussels, Chief Negotiator for EU talks Egemen Bagis sent Kilicdaroglu information on recent developments in Turkey's EU accession negotiations. Speaking to reporters, Bagis said the information was sent to the CHP administration with the knowledge of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, expressing pleasure with the CHP's positive stance on the country's EU bid. He added that as a social democratic party, the CHP could be more effective in communicating Turkey's position on various matters to social democrats in Europe. Bagis also called for more CHP support to pass EU accession reform bills when Parliament returns from its summer recess. In related news, European Commission spokeswoman Angela Filote yesterday spoke to reporters about what Fule is set to tell Kilicdaroglu during their meeting. Stating that the EU believes the CHP can help Turkey's EU accession process, Filote said, "We hope the CHP will play a positive role in this process by making constructive suggestions and taking initiatives. We value CHP contributions to help realize Turkey's EU reforms." She added that they would tell Kilicdaroglu how the EU evaluates Turkey's progress based on objective criteria.