Tags: Cyprus, Intl Crisis Group, Privileged partnership, Turkey's EU accession
The EU-Turkey-Cyprus Triangle: “Privileged Partnership Offers Turkey neither Privilege nor Partnership”,
19 June 2009
Right-wingers won big in the European elections this month, and one of their rallying cries has been that the EU should renege on its promise of an eventual place for Turkey in the European Union. In its place, they are offering a vision of “privileged partnership”. Yet leading proponents in France, Germany and elsewhere have failed to spell out what this policy might be, even though talk of a substitute arrangement for Turkey puts European credibility, intellectual honesty and long-term interests at stake.
Tags: Can Baydarol, Turkey's EU accession, Turkey-EU
EU expert says clear-cut accession date key for Turkey
Can Baydarol, expert in European Union affairs and EU membership activist
Europe Without Borders coordinator for the Turkish International Transporters Association, he teaches European Union affairs at Kültür University in İstanbul. One of the founding members of the Turkey-EU Foundation (TAV), established in 2004, he served as a researcher for several institutions on European law, Turkish-European relations and the harmonization of the Turkish system with EU law. He has appeared on many television and radio programs on Turkey-EU relations and writes a column for the Finansal Forum newspaper. Among his books are “Medeniyetler Buluştuğunda” (When Civilizations Meet), 2004, and “AB ile Tam Üyelik Yolunda Avrupa Topluluğu ile Gümrük Birliği” (Customs Union with the European Community on the Way to the Membership with the EU), 1995.
European Union expert Can Baydarol says Turkey needs to pressure the EU to obtain an unequivocal accession date for full membership, as Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan made a historic visit to Brussels on Jan. 19 to revive the country’s EU accession bid.
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Tags: Turkey's EU accession
|Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has criticized the European Union for proceeding too slowly in accession talks with candidate Turkey and urged the 27-nation bloc to treat Ankara fairly.|
| Erdoğan, speaking at a fast-breaking dinner, or iftar, for foreign envoys in Ankara on Tuesday evening, complained that the process of opening and closing talks on negotiating chapters had been prolonged unnecessarily, the Anatolia news agency reported. “Before our membership process started, opening and closing chapters was not an issue. Chapters were opened and closed. But now we are struggling for this,” he told the ambassadors and heads of foreign missions.Turkey opened accession talks with the EU in 2005 but progress since then has been very slow. Erdoğan complained that the EU made a habit of opening only two chapters out of a total of 35 at a time, thus slowing down the process.He said this was not a fair approach, adding that Turkey expects the EU to adopt the same approach it did with other candidates. Turkey is not asking for privileges, he noted. “We say: We want you to give us the same rights you granted to others [candidates] before us. If you see us as a burden — that’s a different story — then say so. But you should know that Turkey is coming to relieve you of your burden, not to be a cause of burden. You should view Turkey like this,” the prime minister was quoted by Anatolia as saying.The majority of Europeans are skeptical toward the accession of Turkey, a Muslim country of 70 million. In 2006, the EU suspended negotiations on eight chapters due to Turkey’s refusal to open its ports and airports to traffic from EU member Greek Cyprus. France, which opposes Turkish membership, refuses to open talks on five chapters that it says are directly related to accession.
Erdoğan said the EU should not have initiated the accession process with Turkey in the first place if it had doubts over whether Turkish membership would be a burden or if it was planning to allow Ankara’s membership bid to be thwarted due to obstacles raised by the Greek Cypriots. “Then, you should not have opened the door in the first place,” he said, referring to the EU.
In a regular meeting with Foreign Minister Ali Babacan in Brussels on Friday, EU Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn urged Ankara to speed up the overhaul of its Constitution to break the stalemate in the reform process. Constitutional reform is seen as unlikely amid severe rifts between political parties in Parliament, but the government recently unveiled a reform package containing amendments to dozens of laws to meet EU standards.
Erdoğan complained that the EU had demoralized Turkey by making statements that undermine its desire for reform, although Ankara has reasserted its readiness and determinedness to continue with reform efforts. But Ankara is still committed to reforms as shown in its latest plan, the Third National Program, he added.