At a gathering on Monday, Mr. Erdogan and Charles Michel, the president of the European Council, agreed to deal with migration and refugees, financial ties and the prospect of opening up visa-free journey to the EU for Turks, a senior EU official stated. . The official, who spoke on situation of anonymity to reporters, described the assembly as a change to a extra optimistic tone.
Turkey is formally a candidate for membership within the European Union, a standing it has held for 20 years. The method was virtually frozen in 2018, cementing a kind of enemy state of affairs between the bloc and its neighbor to the east. The 2 are deeply hooked up, however their relationship is strained.
Most EU international locations contemplate Turkey’s bid to hitch the EU lifeless — however they didn’t push to make this official out of concern that doing so would additional alienate Mr. Erdogan and make enhancements in key coverage areas resembling vitality cooperation and migration harder. Right here’s a take a look at the historical past of Turkey’s bid to hitch the European Union and the place it’s now.
Why was Türkiye’s candidacy frozen?
Türkiye utilized to grow to be a member of the then smaller European Union in 1987; It was granted candidate standing in 1999 and negotiations to hitch it started in 2005. Talks for EU accession are normally prolonged, lasting on common about 10 years. Within the case of Turkey, they’ve formally lasted for 18 years, though in follow they’ve been suspended for 5 of these.
Negotiations are organized into chapters – or areas of coverage – because the candidate nation tries to fulfill EU legal guidelines and requirements, normally via drastic reforms.
Membership talks hinge on a set of rules, often known as the Copenhagen political standards, resembling respect for human rights, democracy and well-functioning establishments, and the rule of regulation assured by free and unbiased courts. That is the cornerstone of membership within the membership.
The European Union suspended accession talks with Turkey in 2018, citing the nation’s lack of progress on human rights and the rule of regulation. It got here after Mr. Erdogan’s management took a extra authoritarian flip in response to a failed coup try in 2016, with hundreds of public sector staff dismissed and a whole bunch of organizations closed.
Can Türkiye’s bid to hitch the European Union be revived?
EU diplomats imagine Turkey is unlikely to hitch the EU anytime quickly, if ever, saying the nation’s requirements on the rule of regulation and respect for human rights have worsened in recent times.
Turkey’s hostile relations with its neighbors Greece and Cyprus, each members of the European Union, pose one other main drawback. Whereas each international locations are members of NATO, Turkish officers, together with Mr. Erdogan himself, often query their shared border and say Turkey is entitled to extra territory, angering Greece.
Turkey additionally retains management and forces within the northern a part of the island of Cyprus – which it invaded in 1974, claiming it was intervening to guard the Turkic-speaking minority. The worldwide group doesn’t acknowledge its administration there, nor does Turkey acknowledge the Republic of Cyprus, a member of the European Union and the United Nations that governs the southern two-thirds of the island.
Efforts to resolve the Cyprus subject, one of the vital intractable frozen disputes on the earth, have stalled after a number of makes an attempt. So as to be allowed to hitch the European Union, and even to make actual progress on this course, Turkey is prone to acknowledge the Republic of Cyprus.
However what can also be clear is that the European Union now not has any want to broaden eastward. Permitting Turkey to hitch would imply integrating a big Islamic nation into the bloc and transferring its exterior borders to Syria, Iran and Iraq.
What may occur subsequent?
Specialists say that the present framework of the EU-Turkey relationship, which nonetheless facilities round Turkey’s candidacy, creates false expectations and loses out to each side, arguing that it will be higher to create a brand new kind of particular relationship between the bloc and its neighbor. .
However the EU and Turkey have their causes for sticking to the present framework. EU diplomats who see Turkey as key to managing migration and different main political challenges imagine that even when the method doesn’t result in full accession, it may very well be a helpful path, linking Ankara with Brussels and offering a construction for talks.
If solely they spoke!
What is anticipated to occur subsequent is a re-engagement, particularly with regard to basic communication, between the bloc and Turkey. The senior EU official stated the EU would subject a report on the way forward for the connection.
Officers stated there have been no illusions about how tough some elements of the bloc’s relationship with Turkey can be, however the assembly nonetheless felt like a second to reset the tone towards extra positivity.
A change after all in EU-Turkey relations would assist Mr. Erdogan argue that he has improved Turkey’s relations with the EU, whereas additionally enabling the EU to bolster NATO unity by aiding Sweden’s accession, serving to obtain his lofty objective of supporting Ukraine. towards Russian aggression.