Turkey to adopt new strategy for EU membership

Turkey is launching a new communication strategy to support its bid for EU membership.

The new strategy, intended to reverse the decline in public opinion support for Turkey’s membership in the EU, the country, will reinforce the value of Turkey’s participation, according to the country’s ministry of EU Affairs.

”The image of Turkey in the EU in the last three to four years has been damaged, also the image of EU has been damaged,” said Volkan Bozkir, Turkey’s EU Minister and Chief Negotiator on Thursday during a speech at Carnegie Europe in the EU capital Brussels.

In order for this image to be restored, the EU Communication Strategy has been prepared, aiming at informing the public about the benefits of the EU accession.

Bozkir said investing in civil societies, or NGOs, is one of the pillars for the communication strategy. He said there were only around 20 NGO’s in Turkey in the 80s but that number has increased to over 90 thousand today. Bozkir said 180 million Euros will be spent on NGOs.

Bozkir’s visit to Brussels comes a week after the EU published its 2014 progress report on Turkey, which he called ‘objective and balanced in general.’

While the report praises Turkey’s ‘invaluable’ support for Syrian refugees, it also criticizes the country over its ‘’government interference in the judiciary and bans on social media.

Bozkir said six reform packages have been made with respect to the judiciary. Last Sunday, 14 thousand judges and public prosecutors voted for 10 of 22 members of the High Board of Judges and Prosecutor’s Council.

”We give priority to judiciary independence and also to the credibility of the judiciary,” Bozkir said. ”If you don’t have a credible justice system, nothing will go in the right direction.”

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