News / Europe

EU Delays Turkey Accession Talks, Disapproves Of Protest Crackdown

EU Delays Turkey Accession Talks, Disapproves Of Protest Crackdowni
X
June 26, 2013 12:20 AM
The EU has decided to postpone talks with Ankara aimed at moving forward on Turkey's membership in the bloc until later this year. Germany had pushed for the delay, saying that a signal should be sent of the EU's disapproval of the recent crackdown on anti-government protests. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Henry Ridgwell
The EU has decided to postpone talks with Ankara aimed at moving forward on Turkey's membership in the bloc until later this year.  Germany had pushed for the delay, saying that a signal should be sent of the EU's disapproval of the recent crackdown on anti-government protests.

The EU had planned to breathe new life into Turkey's bid to join the 27-nation bloc. Talks were due to start Wednesday on opening a new chapter in the accession process.

But the crackdown on anti-government protests in cities across Turkey has dismayed many European countries.

Led by Germany, EU foreign ministers voted to delay the start of talks until mid-October at the earliest.

Guido Westerwelle is Germany's Foreign Minister.

"On the one hand, we can't pretend that negotiations take place in a vacuum as if the last days hadn't happened. On the other hand, we should also make sure that our joint long-term strategic interests are protected," said Westerwelle.

The decision to delay the talks was pragmatic, says Pawel Swidlicki, an analyst with the London-based policy group Open Europe.

"It's a face-saving exercise for all involved. No-one really wants to say that this process is going nowhere so they've agreed to kick the can down the road until after the German elections, because this will be a contentious issue in those elections," said Swidlicki.

Germany goes to the polls in September. Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservatives oppose EU membership for Turkey in their election manifesto.

Speaking at the German-Turkish Chamber of Commerce, she reiterated her stance on the protests.

"I don't want to conceal the fact that I was shocked by some pictures we've seen lately from Turkey. I hope that through a dialogue, solutions will be found in the future," said Merkel.

Three weeks of clashes in Istanbul and across Turkey have left four people dead and an estimated 7500 injured.

Many European countries say the police response has been overly harsh.

But Prime Minister Erdogan refuses to back down - recently calling the police actions heroic.  Erdogan lost interest in the European Union accession process long before the protests erupted, says Fadi Hakura of policy institute Chatham House.

"This can be partly explained by his longevity in office and the fact that several European countries, specifically Germany and France do not want Turkey to join European club anytime soon," said Hakura.

But Britain, along with some other EU members, does want Turkey to become an EU member.  Again, Pawel Swidlicki of Open Europe.

"Turkey has huge economic potential at a time when Europe is stagnating politically, economically, demographically - in effect there's a whole raft of very serious challenges. And that contrasts quite vividly with Turkey's dynamism," he said.

Istanbul's mayor meanwhile has warned that the protests could cost the city the 2020 Summer Olympics. Organizers will choose the host city in September, and Istanbul authorities fear images like these will give rival candidate cities Madrid and Tokyo an advantage.

You May Like

African States Push to Keep Boko Haram Offline

Central African telecoms ministers working with Nigeria to block all videos posted by Boko Haram in effort to blunt Nigerian militant group's propaganda More

Falling Oil Prices, Internet-Savvy Youth Pose Challenge for Gulf Monarchies

Across the Gulf, younger generations are putting a strain on traditional politics More

Philippines Call Center Workers Face Challenges

Country has world’s largest business process outsourcing, or BPO, industry, employing some one-million workers More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Casei
X
Katherine Gypson
February 25, 2015 11:30 PM
The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Hurt Nascent Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Industry

Falling oil prices are helping consumers purchase cheaper petroleum at the pump. But that’s made hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” less economically viable for the companies in the United States invested in the process. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports on one Midwestern town that was hoping to change its fortunes by cashing in on the next big U.S. oil boom.
Video

Video Fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan Fuels Mass Displacement

Heavy fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan state is causing hundreds of thousands to flee into uncertain conditions. Local aid organizations estimate as many as 400,000 civilians have been internally displaced since the conflict began more than three years ago, while another 250,000 have fled across the border to refugee camps in South Sudan. VOA's Adam Bailes reports.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.
Video

Video A Filmmaker Discovers Her Biracial Identity in "Little White Lie

Lacey Schwartz grew up in an upper middle-class Jewish family, in a town in upstate New York where almost everyone she knew was white. She assumed that she was, as well. Her recent documentary, Little White Lie, tells the story of how she uncovered the secret of her true racial background. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more on the film.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video US-Cuba Normalization Talks Resume Friday

Negotiations aimed at normalizing diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba resume Friday. On the table: lifting a half-century trade embargo and easing banking and travel restrictions. There's opposition in Congress, but some analysts say there may be sufficient political and economic incentives in both nations for a potential breakthrough this year. VOA's Mil Arcega reports.
Video

Video Pakistan's Deadline For SIM Registration Has Cellphone Users Scrambling

Pakistani cell phone users have until midnight Thursday to register their SIM cards, or their service will be cut off. While some privacy experts worry about government intrusion, many Pakistanis are just worried about keeping their phone lines open. VOA Deewa reporter Arshad Muhmand has more from Peshawar.
Video

Video Myanmar Warns Factory Workers to End Strikes

Outside Myanmar's main city Yangon, thousands of workers walked off their jobs earlier this month demanding a doubling of their wages, pay raises after a year and input from labor unions on industrial regulations. Since Friday, the standoff has grown more tense as police moved in to disrupt the sit-ins, resulting in clashes that injured people from both sides. VOA correspondent Steve Herman visited industrial zones which have become a focus of Myanmar's fledgling workers rights movement.
Video

Video Oscar Winners Do More Than Thank the Academy

The Academy Awards presentation is Hollywood’s night to reward the best movies from the previous year. It’s typically a lot of glitter, a lot of thank you’s, a lot of speeches. But many of this year’s speeches carried messages beyond the thank you's. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti takes a look.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More