Turkey-EU association council held in Brussels
The 51st meeting of the Turkey-European Union (EU) Association Council was held on Monday in Brussels, attended by Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, European Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighborhood Policy Stefan Fule and Irish Foreign Minister Eamon Gilmore. Speaking on the sidelines of the meeting, Davutoglu he reiterated the necessity Turkey feels of accelerating the accession negotiations the country has long been holding with the Union. Referring to the expected opening of Chapter 22 on regional policy and structural instruments by the end of June, Davutoglu said, "With one flower, spring does not come." Stating that all of the chapters blocked because of political reasons should be unblocked, Davutoglu said, "There should be a speedier accession process. Otherwise, we may have to wait for another half a century." Davutoglu also said it was unacceptable for Turkish nationals to be denied free movement within the EU, while Turkish goods have had this right for 17 years since Turkey joined the Customs Union. Davutoglu also called on the EU member states to remove the embargo on the delivery of weapons to the Syrian people. "I support lifting the embargo, because they have a right of self-defense. These people have been subjected to artillery attacks, air assaults, Scud missile strikes and use of chemical weapons in the last two years. If we can't prevent all this, the very least of what we must do is to empower them to use their legitimate right of self-defense," Davutoglu said.