EU-Turkey tensions will continue after Erdogan's victory

2023-05-29 08:22:00, Kosova & Bota CNA
EU-Turkey tensions will continue after Erdogan's victory
Recep Tayyip Erdogan

The European Union and Turkey are at odds on many issues and the problems are likely to continue after the re-election of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Turkey's accession to the EU is unlikely to happen soon.

How does the EU see its relations with Turkey?

The European Commission is critical of the increasingly authoritarian rule of Recep Tayyip Erdogan. "The EU's serious concerns about the continued deterioration of democracy, the rule of law, fundamental rights and the independence of the judiciary have not been addressed," European External Action Service officials wrote in their 2022 report on Turkey.

 "Their concerns increased about economic governance and the proper functioning of the market economy."

In the report, Turkey remains an important strategic partner for migration, climate protection and energy security. With its well-equipped military, the NATO member also plays an important role as broker of the grain trade agreement between Russia and Ukraine. But EU leaders sharply criticized Turkey's threatening gestures towards member states Greece and Cyprus through repeated territorial violations by its air force and navy.

The EU has also repeatedly called on the Turkish authorities to respect the rulings of the European Court of Human Rights and release activist Osman Kavala, who was sentenced to life in prison in 2022 for taking part in the 2013 anti-government protests in Gezi Park. of Istanbul. The protests have been branded an attempted coup by Erdogan's Justice and Development Party (AKP) government – ??allowing the government to accuse Kavala of participating in an ongoing coup attempt.

What is Turkey's position?

According to an analysis by the Turkish Foreign Ministry, relations have been characterized by ups and downs for decades. After the alleged coup attempt against Erdogan in July 2016, to which Turkey responded with emergency laws and restrictions on democratic rights, things have deteriorated further, the ministry admitted.

But "the EU's cold and critical attitude after the July 15 secret coup has caused a crisis of confidence," according to the ministry. Officials said the "dialogue weakened" came after their EU counterparts "criticized the necessary measures" put in place by the Turkish government as a result. Erdogan accuses Turkish preacher Fethullah Gülen, who lives in exile in the United States, of plotting the coup.

The European Union remains an important strategic partner for Turkey, which often highlights the importance of a 2015 deal that kept displaced Syrians inside the country, rather than allowing them to cross into the EU. About 3.5 million Syrians now live in Turkey, which has received payments and promises of financial aid totaling nearly 9 billion euros ($9.65 billion).

It's a fragile arrangement. In 2020, Erdogan briefly opened Turkey's border with Greece near Edirne in order to use displaced Syrians as political leverage.

Is Turkey still a candidate for EU membership?

Qëllimi i qeverisë turke mbetet anëtarësimi në Bashkimin Evropian në një moment , nëse, sipas Ministrisë së Jashtme, BE mund të arrijë të zgjidhë problemet e saj të brendshme. Bisedimet e pranimit mund të ringjallen pas këtyre zgjedhjeve presidenciale, por fillimisht Turqia do të duhej të paktën të njihte në mënyrë indirekte Qipron si një anëtare të BE-së. Trupat turke kanë pushtuar pjesën veriore të vendit për gati 50 vjet.

Në vitin 2018, Bashkimi Evropian në fakt pezulloi negociatat e anëtarësimit me Turqinë, të cilat kishin vazhduar që nga viti 2005, por nuk i ndërpreu ato plotësisht. "Unë nuk do të thosha se ata kanë vdekur," tha Amanda Paul, një analiste e lartë në qendrën evropiane të politikave në Bruksel. “Unë do të thoja se janë në koma.

Me Erdoganin në pushtet, ka pak perspektivë për këtë ndryshim, tha Paul - megjithëse më shumë varet nga Bashkimi Evropian dhe jo vetëm nga  Turqia .

“Është një marrëdhënie e çuditshme që është përkeqësuar me kalimin e kohës”, tha Paul. “Të jem i sinqertë, nuk pres ndonjë ndryshim pozitiv”.

Ndër vendet anëtare dhe në Bruksel, tha Paul, ka pak interes për momentin për t'u marrë me një Turqi gjithnjë e më nacionaliste. E megjithatë, ajo shtoi: "Anëtarësimi në BE është ende shumë i popullarizuar në mesin e turqve. Rreth 70% e popullsisë ende dëshiron të bashkohet me BE."

Cila është perspektiva paszgjedhore?

German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock was clearly critical of Turkey when she met her counterpart, Mevlut Cavusoglu, in Istanbul in July 2022. But she also made it clear there was no need for further confrontation, saying NATO had to stay together to avoid Russia.

It follows that the European Union and NATO expect Turkey to finally give its approval for Sweden's admission to the military alliance after the election, which Erdogan apparently blocked for political reasons before the vote. The entry of Sweden and Finland into NATO was already decided almost a year ago. Erdogan withdrew his veto against Finland in April. His support for Sweden is expected to come in July./ DW

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