Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu speaks at a press conference after the EU Reform Action Group meeting in Ankara, Turkey, on Aug. 29, 2018. After nearly three-year-long freeze, the Turkish government Wednesday met with ministers of the EU Reform Action Group to step up its agenda to rewarm ties with the neighboring block. (Xinhua/Mustafa Kaya)
ANKARA, Aug. 29 (Xinhua) -- After nearly three-year-long freeze, the Turkish government Wednesday met with ministers of the EU Reform Action Group to step up its agenda to rewarm ties with the neighboring block.
"In the upcoming process, all our institutions and the EU directorate of Foreign Ministry will focus on the negotiation chapters on judiciary, fundamental rights, freedom and security," Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said at a press conference after meeting justice, interior and economy ministers who forms the EU reform action group.
They agreed to "accelerate political reform process" at the meeting, he said, noting that Ankara will also enhance cooperation with the Council of Europe in the upcoming period.
Turkey will continue to work on remaining six benchmarks required in order to launch visa liberalization process, which envisages visa-free travel for Turkish citizens, he stated.
The minister noted that Turkey wants to see steps from the EU as well, such as launching visa waiver for Turks and upgrading current Customs Union agreement.
The Turkish government will increase confidence on judiciary and speed up judicial in the upcoming period, Minister of Justice Abdulhamit Gul said at the press conference.
Economic threats toward Turkey and statements of the United States that effects economic system become a good opportunity for Turkey and the EU for understanding the value of each other, said a statement after the action group's meeting.
The last meeting of the EU reform action group, which assesses requirements to meet EU criteria, was gathered in November 2015. However, Turkey and the EU has achieved almost no progress in the accession process of Ankara.
The EU has long been increasingly critical on worsening human rights record of Turkey.
Turkey's accession process to the block has been officially suspended with European Council decisions that stipulates no chapters to be opened.
A state of emergency declared in the aftermath of the coup attempt in July 15, 2016, caused ties between the EU and Turkey to hit the bottom as Brussels criticized the Turkish government's post-coup measures as antidemocratic.
Despite escalated rhetoric in the past few years, bilateral economic potential enhanced and the EU remained Turkey's top trading partner, accounting for 36.4 percent of Turkey's imports and 47.1 percent of exports in 2017, according to EU figures.
Early the month, Turkish economy is hit by decreasing value of Turkish lira and Turkish leaders accuses the United States for staging economic war against their country over sanctions against Turkish ministers and increased tariffs on imports such as steel and aluminum.
"I have for a while been seeing Ankara's effort to take advantage of the new situation with the EU. Turkish authorities want to restart the reform process and revive the harmonization process with the EU," said Abdulkadir Selvi, a columnist known for having insights from the government.