United States Supports Turkey's Bid To Join the European Union

By Tim Receveur
Washington File Staff Writer

Washington - The United States congratulates Turkey on its ongoing economic reforms and supports Turkey’s entrance into the European Union (EU), President Bush told reporters October 2.

“I made it very clear to the prime minister I think it's in the United States' interests that Turkey join the European Union,” Bush said during a meeting with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan at the White House. “And I congratulate the Prime Minister and his government for the economic reforms that have enabled the Turkish economy to be strong, for the good of the Turkish people.”

“It was important to hear the president say that their support for Turkey's membership to the European Union [EU] will continue,” Erdogan said. “We have also discussed Turkey's progress and reforms with regards to the European Union - the Copenhagen political criteria, as well as Maastricht criteria, and the recent work that is ongoing with the screening process at the EU for Turkey's accession.”

The Maastricht criteria, also known as the Convergence criteria, are the criteria European Union member states must meet to enter the third stage of the European Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) and adopt the Euro. The European Commission announced September 26 its approval of the entry of Romania and Bulgaria into the EU on January 1, 2007. (See related article.)

At their October 2 meeting, the U.S. and Turkish leaders also discussed how to bring peace and stability to the Middle East and “what Turkey specifically can do in the Middle East,” Erdogan said.

“[T]he joint steps that we have taken in order to pursue with determination our fight against terrorism [continue] to be very important in our relations,” he said.  Erdogan confirmed he and Bush agree on “forming a joint platform in order to combat terrorism on a global scale."

Bush also said the two countries share a “deep desire to improve the lives of those who are suffering in Darfur.” He called on Sudan and the United Nations to approve a U.N. peacekeeping force to protect civilians there.

“It's important for the United Nations and the government of Sudan to take forward steps to help it end the suffering,” he said. (See related article.)

A transcript of the leaders’ remarks is available on the White House Web site.

For more information on U.S. policies, see Southeast Europe.