The elections for the chair and vice-chair of the EU-Turkey Joint Parliamentary Committee took place on the 26th of September 2019 in the European Parliament. Sergey Lagodinsky, the German MEP of the Greens/European Free Alliance, was elected as chair, while Ilhan Kyuchyuk, the Bulgarian MEP from Renew Group, became the vice-chair of the Committee. Kyuchyuk stated that he is glad to be selected for this important position and hopeful for the future of Turkey-EU relations.
After the elections Kyuchyuk said, “Unless Turkey plays an active role in the Syrian refugee crisis, the crisis would cause worse serious consequences than today. However, relations should not only be limited to the refugees but cooperation also should be economically and culturally improved. Turkey also plays a significant role in NATO and the Balkans. In this context, enabling good contact with Turkey, and engaging in principled work will also benefit for the European Union.”
“It is not possible to be insensitive to Turkey for me. Turkey is Bulgaria’s borders. Also, almost 1 million of our compatriots live in Turkey. Therefore, Turkey is a friendly nation for us. If relations improve and the frequency of visits increases, Europeans do not treat Turkish citizens as foreigners. On the contrary, I believe they will see them as European citizens because Turkish people are Europeans who believe in democracy. To achieve this, we will work on visa liberalization. In the matter of improving economic relations, we will endeavor to update the Customs Union.” Kyuchyuk went on.
“There have been mutual damages in our relationship. Nevertheless, I’m hopeful about the future. In the next five years, I wish to establish powerful and sustainable relations in the Parliament, the Commission, and the Council through foreseeing administrations,” he concluded.
Considering the strategic importance of Turkey for the European Union, this is an important forum that brings together elected representatives from the European and Turkish legislatures. In addition to this, the European Parliament’s delegation to the EU-Turkey Joint Parliamentary Committee maintains contacts with Turkish civil society. Through its regular meetings in Strasbourg and Brussels, the delegation provides a forum for a variety of voices on Turkey – those of researchers and officials, business representatives and ordinary citizens – to be heard.