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Leaders urged to unblock Turkey’s EU bid December 21, 2009

Posted by Yilan in EU, European Union, Turkey.
Tags: , , ,

German Chancellor Angela Merkel recently said that she would prefer Turkey to receive a privileged partnership from the EU rather than full membership, echoing recent comments made by French President Nicolas Sarkozy at the launch of his EU election campaign.

Turkey strongly objected to the idea of a “privileged partnership” and insisted it should become a full EU member. EU-Turkey relations have a long history.

Turkey applied for associate membership of the then-European Economic Community almost fifty years ago, in September 1959. It applied for full EU membership in April 1987. In 1999, it was recognised as a candidate country along with a number of mainly East European countries, which in the meantime have joined the bloc, in 2004 and 2007 respectively.

The EU agreed in 2005 to start accession talks with Turkey, but only 10 of the 35 negotiating chapters have been opened so far. Talks were frozen in eight chapters in 2006 after Turkey refused to open its ports and airports to vessels and aircraft from EU member Cyprus. Turkey has occupied the northern part of Cyprus since 1974, when the Turkish military invaded the northern part of the island in response to a coup inspired by the military junta in Athens.

Recent EU elections have seen a rise in anti-Turkish rhetoric and have strengthened political parties across the EU opposed to Turkey’s EU membership.

He added that no special “favours” were required for Turkey but rather treatment similar to that of other accession candidates.

Ahtisaari, a former president of Finland, a neutral country, praised Turkey for its NATO role, apparently neglecting concerns recently expressed by the Alliance’s secretary-general, who had stated that Turkish-Greek tensions were endangering NATO and EU missions in Afghanistan and Somalia.

The former Finnish president was flanked by fellow members of the ‘Independent Commission’ – former French prime minister Michel Rocard, former European commissioners Emma Bonino and Hans van den Broeck, former Spanish foreign minister Marcelino Oreja Aguirre and former Austrian secretary-general for foreign affairs Albert Rohan.

Rohan presented a rather optimistic picture of developments in Turkey, praising the fact that talks are ongoing for the reunification of Cyprus, which he called “the best, and also maybe the last chance for reunification,” as well as moves by Ankara to grant more rights to Kurds (EurActiv 31/08/09) and for overcoming tensions with Armenia (EurActiv 01/09/09).

The former Austrian diplomat said that EU-Turkey relations had reached a peak in 1999, when the country was invited to start accession negotiations, and had greatly deteriorated in recent years, due the negative attitude of some EU leaders and national public opinion towards the country’s accession to the EU. This had caused, in his words, widespread disappointment in Turkey and a weakening of pro-European forces. He added that this development was “contrary to the EU interest”.

Spanish former foreign minister Marcelino Oreja was asked about the risk of Turkish military meddling in state affairs, as military circles had tried to ban the ruling AKP party accusing it of anti-secular activities. Oreja compared Turkey’s secretive organisation Ergenekon, which is close to military circles, to the organisers of a failed coup in Spain in February 1981, which had tried to impose a military-backed government.

Oreja praised the Turkish government’s “firmness” with Ergenekon and said that after recent developments the problem was now apparently solved.

Cyprus responsibilities

Former Dutch commissioner Hans van den Broek acknowledged that in his country, attitudes towards enlargement had changed a great deal recently. However, he said that in the case of Turkey, the EU’s credibility was at stake, as some European capitals appeared to be again engaged in discussions about “Europe’s identity,” a debate which he said was triggered when Turkey was granted EU candidate status.

He also appeared to take a critical stance towards Cyprus in the issue of the blocked accessions negotiations with Turkey.

“I don’t know whether we all are aware that the candidate status of Turkey was granted at a certain price,” Van den Broek said, adding: “Because when this was decided, at the same time it was also agreed that the accession of Cyprus will not be conditioned to its reunification […] Let’s not deny that this simple fact now complicates discussions with Turkey, and gives Cyprus a rather privileged position. And it’s not a mere coincidence that many chapters have been blocked, also at the will of Cyprus,” Van den Broek said.

Former Italian commissioner Emma Bonino called on EU leaders to be more active by helping the ongoing reunification talks in Cyprus, held between the leaders of the two communities under UN patronage. She strongly encouraged EU leaders to visit Cyprus, put pressure on both sides and aid the success of the talks.

Former French prime minister Michel Rocard strongly called for new chapters in the EU-Turkish accession negotiations to be opened, especially the energy chapter.



1. muschi - May 17, 2010

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2. montra---trimek---pig---thailand-- - May 22, 2010


3. montra---trimek---pig---thailand-- - May 22, 2010


4. montra---trimek---pig---thailand-- - May 22, 2010


5. Arie - October 5, 2010

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