Hurriyet Daily News, Turkey
Turkish PM sends letter to Obama on EU deal
26 March 2013
Ankara/Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has sent a letter to U.S. President Barack Obama so that Washington would continue talks with Turkey for a free trade agreement simultaneously with the EU, Economy Minister Zafer Çağlayan said yesterday.
“If the status quo continues, we may have to put the Customs Union [with the EU] on hold as the Customs Union is now working against Turkey,” Çağlayan said.
However , Turkey has asked Germany to aid it in joining a prospective U.S.-EU free trade agreement (FTA) so that Ankara is not left out in the cold in terms of international trade, Cağlayan told reporters while meeting with Nils Schmid, the deputy premier and economy and finance minister of Baden-Württemberg.
“Difficulties arising from visas, quotas placed on the free movement of Turkish products, and the fact that Turkey cannot sign free trade agreements with countries who already have FTAs with the EU all cause unfair competition for Turkey,” Çağlayan said.
The U.S. and EU launched moves on Feb. 13 to open negotiations on a new free trade pact, which would result in free trade between the two entities, in order to eliminate or minimize barriers everywhere.
The FTA between the EU and third parties enable these other countries’ goods to enter European markets or Turkish markets via Europe with zero duties, but the decision to provide the same privileges to Turkey is up to the discretion of the third party.