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

    New EU Asylum Rules Could Boost Rightists

    New regulations will seek to correct EU failures in dealing with migrant crisis, most notably inability to get member states to absorb a total of 160,000 refugees

    More Political Turmoil Likely in Iraq as Iran Waits in the Wings

    Analysts warn that Tehran, even though it may not be engineering the Sadrist protests in Baghdad, is seeking to leverage its influence on its neighbor

    Forced Anal Testing Case to Appear Before Kenya Court

    Men challenge use of anal examinations to ‘prove homosexuality’; practice accomplishes nothing except to humiliate those subjected to them, according to Human Rights Watch

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Tensions Rising Ahead of South China Sea Rulingi
    X
    May 03, 2016 5:16 PM
    As the Philippines awaits an international arbitration ruling on a challenge to China's claims to nearly all of the South China Sea, it is already becoming clear that regardless of which way the decision goes, the dispute is intensifying. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
    Video

    Video Tensions Rising Ahead of South China Sea Ruling

    As the Philippines awaits an international arbitration ruling on a challenge to China's claims to nearly all of the South China Sea, it is already becoming clear that regardless of which way the decision goes, the dispute is intensifying. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
    Video

    Video Painting Captures President Lincoln Assassination Aftermath

    A newly restored painting captures the moments following President Abraham Lincoln’s assassination in 1865. It was recently unveiled at Ford’s Theatre in Washington, where America’s 16th president was shot. It is the only known painting by an eyewitness that captures the horror of that fateful night. VOA’s Julie Taboh tells us more about the painting and what it took to restore it to its original condition.
    Video

    Video Elephant Summit Results in $5M in Pledges, Presidential Support

    Attended and supported by three African presidents, a three-day anti-poaching summit has concluded in Kenya, resulting in $5 million in pledges and a united message to the world that elephants are worth more alive than dead. The summit culminated at the Nairobi National Park with the largest ivory burn in history. VOA’s Jill Craig attended the summit and has this report about the outcomes.
    Video

    Video Displaced By War, Syrian Artist Finds Inspiration Abroad

    Saudi-born Syrian painter Mohammad Zaza is among the millions who fled their home for an uncertain future after Syria's civil war broke out. Since fleeing Syria, Zaza has lived in Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan and now Turkey where his latest exhibition, “Earth is Blue like an Orange,” opened in Istanbul. He spoke with VOA about how being displaced by the Syrian civil war has affected the country's artists.
    Video

    Video Ethiopia’s Drought Takes Toll on Children

    Ethiopia is dealing with its worst drought in decades, thanks to El Nino weather patterns. An estimated 10 million people urgently need food aid. Six million of them are children, whose development may be compromised without sufficient help, Marthe van der Wolf reports for VOA from the Metahara district.
    Video

    Video Little Havana - a Slice of Cuban Culture in Florida

    Hispanic culture permeates everything in Miami’s Little Havana area: elderly men playing dominoes as they discuss politics, cigar rollers deep at work, or Cuban exiles talking with presidential candidates at a Cuban coffee window. With the recent rapprochement between Cuba and United States, one can only expect stronger ties between South Florida and Cuba.
    Video

    Video California Republicans Weigh Presidential Choices Amid Protests

    Republican presidential candidates have been wooing local party leaders in California, a state that could be decisive in selecting the party's nominee for U.S. president. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports delegates to the California party convention have been evaluating choices, while front-runner Donald Trump drew hundreds of raucous protesters Friday.
    Video

    Video Kurdish Football Team Helps War-Torn City Cope

    With the conflict still raging across much of Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, between the rebel PKK and the Turkish state, many Kurds are trying to escape the turmoil by focusing on the success of their football team Amedspor in Diyarbakir. The club is increasingly becoming a symbol for Kurds, not only in Diyarbakir but beyond. Dorian Jones reports from southeast Turkey.
    Video

    Video ‘The Lights of Africa’ - Through the Eyes of 54 Artists

    An exhibition bringing together the work of 54 African artists, one from each country, is touring the continent after debuting at COP21 in Paris. Called "Lumières d'Afrique," the show centers on access to electricity and, more figuratively, ideas that enlighten. Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, the exhibition's first stop.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora