News / Europe

Ankara Continues Efforts to Join EU

FILE - Flags of Turkey and the European Union are seen over the dome of a mosque in Istanbul, Turkey, Oct. 4, 2005.
FILE - Flags of Turkey and the European Union are seen over the dome of a mosque in Istanbul, Turkey, Oct. 4, 2005.
Dorian Jones
Ankara has issued a strong attack on the European Union (EU) for what it calls a "bigoted" assessment of Turkey in its report on EU membership requirements published in October. In response, Turkey drew up its own report released this week to counter Brussels'. Despite the current acrimony, Ankara is expressing hopes its membership bid will get back on track with Ireland taking over the EU presidency.

In an unprecedented step, Ankara, earlier this week,  published its own assessment of its progress to join the ranks of the European Union in reponse to Brussels' critical assessment which raised concerns over deteriorating human rights in the country.

Turkey's EU Affairs Minister Egemen Bagis in Istanbul, June 26, 2012.Turkey's EU Affairs Minister Egemen Bagis in Istanbul, June 26, 2012.
x
Turkey's EU Affairs Minister Egemen Bagis in Istanbul, June 26, 2012.
Turkey's EU Affairs Minister Egemen Bagis in Istanbul, June 26, 2012.
In the 270-page report, Turkey's Minister for EU membership, Ergemen Bagis, claimed such criticism is "bigoted" and "politically motivated."

Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesman Selcuk Unal said his country's patience is running out.

"The ongoing stalemate in accession negotiations is not acceptable," he said. "Eighteen negotiation chapters are blocked. Eight chapters were blocked by the council in 2006, and France blocked six and likewise the Greek Cypriots blocked six. So the ongoing stalemate in accession negotiations is damaging the process itself."

Turkey began EU accession negotiations in 2005, but the process has been extremely slow.

So far only a few areas of negotiation - called "chapters" - have been opened. Just one chapter has been completed.

Many influential politicians in France, Germany, Austria and some other EU countries are opposed to granting Turkey full membership.

But international relations expert Soli Ozel of Istanbul's Kadir Has University said with the Irish taking over the EU presidency, Turkish-EU relations could turn a corner.

"Ireland is a good country to preside now over the EU. It has good relations with Turkey," said Ozel. "I think Turks like the Irish so we may see some movement in the right direction in Turkish EU negotiations."

Dublin taking over the EU presidency comes with growing expectations in Ankara that Paris could ease its opposition to Turkey's bid. The new French President François Holland does not share his predecessor Nicolas Sarkozy's ardent opposition to the Turkish bid.

Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesman Unal said there is a room for cautious optimism.

"We are working with EU partners and countries supportive of Turkey's EU accession. I think it will not be wrong to say receiving positive signals," said Unal. "But on the other hand its early to speak about concrete outcomes."

According to Sinan Ulgen, head of Edam, a research institute in Istanbul, Ankara is reassessing its stance towards the EU after recent years of growing indifference. He said, "The foreign affairs minister [Ahmet Davutoglu] has realized that the Arab Spring is going to be much more problematic for the countries in question and also for Turkey's relationship with those countries than what had been initially estimated."

"So it's true that Turkey is seeking security by strengthening its alliance with its traditional partners in the West," Elgen added. "That is the case most particularly with regard to Washington but also to some extent with the EU."

Turkey's vibrant economy and large market could give further incentive to the EU to reinvigorate its relations with Turkey. But analysts warn the bringing of Turkey's bid out of its present static state, will likely mean that Ankara will have to address more seriously Brussels' growing concerns over the state of human rights.

You May Like

Mood Tense Ahead of Scotland Independence Vote

As race to persuade undecided voters continues, No voters say they believe life in Scotland will slowly improve and do not want to take a risk by endorsing independence More

South Africa’s 'Open Mosque' Admits Everyone, Including Critics

Open Mosque founder plans to welcome gay worshipers and allow women to lead prayers More

Ukrainian Activist in Despair About Future of Her Country

IrIna Dovgan, accused of being a spy and tortured by pro-Russian separatists, is appealing to UN Human Rights Council to support her country More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: JKF from: Ottawa, Canada
January 07, 2013 7:17 PM
In my opinion, Erdogan continues to antagonize the EU about its acceptance of Turkey into the EU. The fault lies with his policies and a poor record on many issues, that are concerning to Western democracies/people and their values, and not just the EU. Some of the issues, in my opinion, are:
1. Freedom of the press, one of the worst records on the planet;
2. Supression of minority rights, Kurds, Armenians, Greeks, etc.
3. A political system that is not secular, it needs to be fair to all citizens;
4. Continued occupation of Cyprus related issues;
5. Continued desecration of St. Sophia;
6. Failure to re-instate property to the Orthodox church;
7. Failure to provide support/ fund to minority educational institutions.
8. Poor safeguards/protection of religeous freedoms, especially for the Orthodox Christians;
9.Continued unresolved/challenges issues wrt Greek sovereignty/border issues in the Agean/Med;
10. Judiciary issues wrt the gurantee of rights of accused, pre and during trials;
11. Failure to recognize/deal/compensate victims of security services errors;
Just a few of the issues, that are visible and clear irritants/no-go indicators to all, not just the EU. I can't see a way ahead on most of these issues, if the current Turkish gvmt accepts no responsibility/corrective proactive actions for the issues. To this day, Turkey has not apologized or even rcognized some of the brutal execess of their Ottoman empire, including such as the Armenian genocide..


by: Maithe from: Paris, France
January 05, 2013 5:47 PM
Europe has enough problems without a country like Turkey in the middle. M. Erdogan you should learn that shouting and insulting the EU will not help you .Ireland will not change a iota to what the other members are thinking. Don't dream. You should be ashamed to behave the way you do -so selfishly - when so many countries collapse or face big dangers around you.
NATO is already helping you. It's quite enough.
And please VOA don't put Turkey in the section "Europe"! Thanks !

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Wateri
X
September 17, 2014 8:44 PM
Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.
Video

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

China says its has sentenced three men to death and one woman to life in prison for a deadly knife attack in March that left more than 30 dead and 140 injured. Beijing says Muslim militants from China's restive western region of Xinjiang carried out the attacks. Now, more than six months after the incident, residents in the city are still coping with the aftermath. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Kunming.
Video

Video Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Community

Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video West Trades Accusations Over Ransoms

As world leaders try to forge a common response to the threat posed by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, there is simmering tension over differing policies on paying ransoms. In the past month, the jihadist group has beheaded two Americans and one Briton. Both countries refuse to pay ransom money. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London, there is uncertainty in the approach of some other European nations.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid