İmamoğlu Met with the EU Delegation to Turkey: Prepare for the Change Process

İmamoğlu met with the EU Delegation to Turkey Prepare for the Change Process
İmamoğlu met with the EU Delegation to Turkey Prepare for the Change Process

IMM President Ekrem İmamoğlumet with the Head of the EU Delegation to Turkey, Ambassador Nikolaus Meyer-Landrut, and a delegation of ambassadors from different countries. At the meeting; Many topics were discussed, from the Russia-Ukraine war to the attitude of EU countries on this issue, from Turkey's EU accession process to the slow progress of the financing process that IMM expects from EU-affiliated financial institutions. Expressing his criticism that no significant progress has been made in the decisions taken by the EU Delegation on climate change, disaster preparedness, transportation and urban mobility, the expansion of pre-school education and asylum seekers, İmamoğlu said, “We need the EU Delegation and EU countries to prepare in advance for the change process whose footsteps are heard in Turkey. and we hope that the scale of our cooperation will be enlarged”.

Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality (IMM) President Ekrem İmamoğlu, the Head of the European Union (EU) Delegation to Turkey, met with the delegation headed by Ambassador Nikolaus Meyer-Landrut yesterday evening. At the meeting held in a hotel in Şişli; 25 members of the EU Delegation to Turkey, consisting of ambassadors and consul generals, and the IMM delegation took place with a team of 12, including the managers of the institutions. Making the opening speech of the meeting, İmamoğlu pointed out that the world was passing through historical days due to the war between Ukraine and Russia. “At the end of this tragedy, it is likely that there will be great changes in the global order and the difference between democratic and non-democratic countries will become more evident in the coming period,” said İmamoğlu. ” he determined.


Emphasizing that the invasion initiated by Russia was "unjust", İmamoğlu said, "With this war, the separation between authoritarian regimes and liberal regimes has become more evident. In this process, our desire is for Turkey to be on the right side of history as well.” Noting that Turkey's EU adventure is also directly related to democratization, İmamoğlu said, “As it is known, the negotiation period with the EU has been the period in which democratic institutions and democratic values ​​rose the fastest in the history of Turkey. Although the process has been frozen, social support for EU membership is still high in Turkey. Turkey's European route is still a meaningful choice for the majority of society.


Emphasizing that the Turkish society has an extremely strong will for democracy, İmamoğlu filled the question “What do we expect from our European friends as democrats in Turkey?” as follows:

“I must admit that I find the attitude of EU countries to be very pragmatist in terms of relations with Ankara in general terms, and that we do not see enough sensitivity from our European friends when it comes to democratic values. Unfortunately, I observe that the EU side does not take enough initiative to establish concrete cooperation with democratic forces. While there is such a strong support for Turkey's European journey and the longing for democracy among the Turkish people is so clear and clear, Turkey-EU relations cannot be limited to a give-and-take relationship in the context of security and refugees. The reciprocal relationship should be based heavily on the value system. Within the framework of democratic values, the European Union's attitude towards Turkey is a disappointment for many democrats in Turkey.”


Criticizing the slowness of access to finance with its EU counterparts, İmamoğlu said, “Like many democrat municipalities, we have difficulties in getting results from EU institutions, especially the European Commission and EBRD, in terms of access to finance. I would like to remind you again and again that especially the municipalities elected with the opposition votes could not reach the 'Pre-Accession Financial Assistance Tools', namely the IPA funds. I expect you to invite Brussels and your governments to take action on this issue. Developing areas of cooperation with the EU Delegation; climate change; preparedness for disasters; transport and urban mobility; Expressing that serious progress could not be made in the decisions they took on the dissemination of pre-school education and asylum seekers, İmamoğlu said, "We hope that the EU Delegation and EU countries will be prepared for the process of change whose footsteps are heard in Turkey, and that the scope of our cooperation will be enlarged."


Sharing the information that they did not remain a bystander to the unjust war started by Russia in the north of the Black Sea, and that they, as IMM, tried to do their best to help the victims of the tragedy, İmamoğlu said, “First of all, I met with the Mayor of Kyiv a few weeks ago. I had a long conversation with the Mayor of our sister city, Odesa. And finally, I met with the Mayor of Warsaw and learned the dimensions of the needs. Thereupon, I asked for authorization from the IMM Assembly. After all, we, as Istanbul and Turkey, have years of experience and sensitivity regarding asylum seekers. I must proudly state that the IMM Assembly unanimously approved my initiative, unconditionally and without limit. In your presence, I would like to thank all the members of our City Council once again for this important support.” Expressing that they will set off with 3 truckloads of humanitarian aid convoys to go to Warsaw, İmamoğlu said, “I will visit the refugee camps in Warsaw in the second half of next month. I would like to express that we are ready to cooperate with you on these issues as well.”


Head of the EU Delegation to Turkey, Ambassador Meyer-Landrut, also said, “When we started the preparations for this meeting, the geopolitical situation was very different. Russia had not invaded Ukraine. And that was unthinkable for most of us.” Stating that the world and Europe expect a calmer environment while recovering from the Kovid-19 disaster, Meyer-Landrut said, “Today, we are meeting here under dramatic conditions. More than a month ago, Russia invaded Ukraine. "This unlawful attack has no valid reason and is causing incredible suffering to the Ukrainian people," he said. Meyer-Landrut stated that they are pleased that Turkey brought the Ukrainian and Russian delegations together at the negotiating table in Istanbul and said, "We need to make progress on the humanitarian front immediately."


Noting that they are in favor of a ceasefire that respects Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity, Meyer-Landrut said the reflection of the war on Europe: "The war causes some fluctuations in the world, as well as the sad loss of life and livelihoods and the terrible collapse of Ukraine. In less than a month, close to 3 million refugees arrived in the EU. 30.000 people come daily. High energy prices have triggered inflation and are causing a decrease in households' disposable income. The economic growth, which has recovered after Kovid-19, is expected to remain at a lower level after this point. If the war continues, it may decrease to lower levels,” he said.


Noting that they know that Turkey and Istanbul were also affected by the events, Meyer-Landrut said, “In this process, cooperation can be developed between the EU and Turkey and between local municipalities such as Istanbul. New opportunities, especially financial support, can be found for innovative, green and sustainable projects. We are proud to be working on a sustainable urban mobility plan with IMM. Your municipality has the capacity and vision to develop projects worth investing in. These can be supported by IFIs and financed within the framework of the Investment Platform”.

After the speeches, İmamoğlu answered questions from EU mission chiefs.

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