The EU's Turkish Dilemma
by Andreas Theophanous, Professor of Political Economy and Director General of the Center
Accession negotiations between the EU
and Turkey are expected to start on October
When Ankara signed the Protocol for extending the Customs Union with the ten new EU member states, it declared that it does not recognize the Republic of Cyprus. Turkey could have opted not to make any statement. Such a policy option would have been seen as constructive and would have indicated a political will to address long-standing problems with a new perspective.
It is not only the recognition of the
Republic of Cyprus, a member state of the EU that may be problematic for the credibility of EU
processes as well as of the potential of the
Union to become a global political power. More serious is the fact that
Ankara continues to occupy almost
Be that as it may and coming back to the question of Turkish inflexibility, other issues could be mentioned as well. Obviously, much progress has been made in Turkey in several domains. But still much remains to be done on several issues i.e. in relation to human rights (including the political rights of minorities). Moreover, attention must be given to bridging the gap between, on the one hand, changes and reforms on paper and, on the other hand, their implementation on the ground. Perhaps Turkey’s inflexibility is also the outcome of the strong support it receives from the US and certain countries in the EU, such as Britain. In addition to the long-standing sustained relations between Britain and Turkey, London assumes that, with the accession of Turkey to the EU, the Union will be more of an economic union and less of a political entity. The prospects of a strong and politically integrated EU would become very remote.
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