New EP report stresses importance of Turkey's economy for the EU
A new European Parliament report highlights Turkey's economic importance for the European Union. The first-ever report on Turkish-EU trade ties by the EP's International Trade Commission, approved by the commission yesterday, matters because it urges that Turkish-EU relations be seen from an economic perspective rather than through political disputes, stressing Turkey's economic indispensability for the EU. The report, which is set to come to the EP floor in September, warns that the Customs Union between the EU and Turkey, which is improving its trade ties with more and more countries throughout the world, could suffer for political reasons. It also criticizes the visa restrictions the EU imposes on Turkey, saying that they are depressing trade. Stating that Turkey has the world's number 17 economy and the sixth largest in Europe, the reports asks the EU's executive organ, the European Commission, to examine why trade between Turkey and the EU is in decline. "Though the EU remains the largest trade partner of Turkey, in recent years Russia, China, the US and Iran took their places among Turkey's main trade partners while Turkey's trade volume with the EU has decreased," the report says. It also stresses Turkey's importance for the EU's energy supply, as a country located at the crossroads of energy supply lines. In related news, at a Bastille Day reception yesterday, French Ambassador to Ankara Bernard Emie called Turkey not only a regional power but also a global one. France welcomes the initiatives Turkey is taking in the Middle East, he said, adding that Turkey has moved much closer to EU values in recent years.