21 November 2013 /TODAYSZAMAN.COM, İSTANBUL – Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt has expressed frustration with Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) leadership for joining the Alliance of European Conservatives and Reformists (AECR) as a full member after leaving Europe’s largest political family, the European People’s Party (EPP) — which was established by the Christian Democrats — where it had observer status.
“If I did not have to be diplomatic, I would have called this move by Turkey AKP [AK Party] profoundly stupid,” Bildt said on Wednesday, tweeting Today’s Zaman’s related story.
The story Bildt tweeted includes remarks by Ria Oomen-Ruijten, a Dutch Christian Democrat and the European Parliament’s (EP) rapporteur on Turkey, who said she could not believe when she heard the news that the AK Party defected from the EPP and joined the AECR, expressing the belief that the ruling party in Turkey since 2002 has chosen “isolation in Europe.”
The article also included German Liberal and shadow rapporteur of his group on Turkey, Alexander Graf Lambsdorff, who agreed with Oomen-Ruijten, underlining that he also had difficulty understanding why a party like the AK Party, which was so strong in its country, would opt for a party that was basically known for its anti-EU stance.
Harshly criticizing the AK Party, Oomen-Ruijten claimed the decision showed that the party leadership did not understand what the EU was all about. “If you want to connect yourself with an island, then it could have some meaning. But I understand Turkey does not want to be an island but to be the heart of it,” she said.
Lambsdorff seemed not to buy the AK Party’s argument that it had now become a full member of a political group. He said the AK Party has become a part of a very small group that has a dubious attitude to the future of the EU. He said it was “a very bad move” on the AK Party side, stressing that the AK Party “has now become a Eurosceptic party.” Lambsdorff, who is also the deputy chairman of the Liberal Group in the EP, said he understood the frustration of the AK Party with the snail-paced accession talks but said that, nevertheless, the switch to the AECR was not a good idea at all. – http://www.todayszaman.com/news-331897-swedish-fm-calls-ak-partys-aecr-move-profoundly-stupid.html