Posts Tagged ‘Accession of Turkey to the European Union’

Erdogan blows Turkey’s prospects of joining the EU

June 19, 2013

It is not the protests in Turkey but Erdogan’s hard-handed approach to quelling the protests which may have blown Turkeys chances of joining the EU.

It is his response which provides a “politically correct” cloak under which many of those opposed to Turkey’s membership of the EU can hide. Their opposition is primarily because Turkey is an Islamist nation, but the police actions in Turkey come in very handy to hide behind. They can now use Erdogan’s “undemocratic” behaviour as their visible justification for their opposition. Angela Merkel and Germany have long been opposed to Turkey’s membership but have had to walk the tightrope of opposing while not seeming to be giving in to the neo-Nazis and their anti-Turkish campaigns within Germany. I caught Angela Merkel on TV two days ago and she was “apalled, utterly apalled” at the hard response of Erdogan’s police.

Hurriyet: Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives have rejected Turkish membership in the European Union in their German election programme, saying the country would “overburden” the bloc because of its size and economy.

The Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and its Bavarian sister party, the Christian Social Union (CSU), have long opposed Turkey joining the 27-nation bloc, but haven’t stood in the way of EU accession talks that were launched shortly before Merkel took office.

The German line has hardened in recent weeks however because of Ankara’s tough response to three weeks of protests against Prime Minister Tayyip Erdoğan.

On June 17, Merkel said she was “appalled” at Turkey’s handling of the protests, which have turned into fierce clashes between police firing teargas and water cannon, and masked demonstrators throwing bottles and other missiles.

Turkey’s application to accede to the EU was first made 26 years ago in 1987.

 Turkey has been an associate member of the European Union (EU) and its predecessors since 1963. After the ten founding members, Turkey was one of the first countries to become a member of the Council of Europe in 1949, and was also a founding member of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) in 1961 and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) in 1973. The country has also been an associate member of the Western European Union since 1992, and is a part of the “Western Europe” branch of the Western European and Others Group (WEOG) at the United Nations. Turkey signed a Customs Union agreement with the EU in 1995 and was officially recognised as a candidate for full membership on 12 December 1999, at the Helsinki summit of the European Council.

All things going well with the negotiations, membership would be on track for 2015. But there is fundamental opposition to an Islamist country of over 70 million becoming a full member. Sarkozy and the right in France were ( and still are) implacably opposed. For many Austrians, Turkey becoming a member would be close to sacrilege. The Spanish remember El Cid (Rodrigo Diaz de Vivar). Brussels (Barroso) has stated that full membership could – at the earliest – come by 2021. Turkey has implied that 2023 – when modern Turkey is 100 years old – may be a deadline.

In December 2011, a poll showed that as much as 71% of the participants surveyed in Austria, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Italy, Poland, Spain and the UK were opposed to Turkey’s membership in the European Union.

Erdogan’s response to the protests could well provide the cover for the anti-Islamist forces in Europe to prevent Turkey’s accession to the EU for the foreseeable future.

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