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

Multimedia Social Media Documenting, Not Driving, Hong Kong Protests

Unlike in Arab Spring uprisings, pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong aren't relying on Twitter and Facebook to organize, but social media still plays a role More

Analysis: Occupy Central Not Exactly Hong Kong’s Tiananmen

VOA's former Hong Kong, Beijing correspondent compares and contrasts 1989 Tiananmen Square protest with what is now happening in Hong Kong More

Bambari Hospital a Lone Place of Help in Violence-Plagued CAR

Only establishment still functioning in CAR's second city is main hospital More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plainsi
X
October 01, 2014 10:45 AM
It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plains

It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests Draw New Supporters on National Holiday

On the 65th anniversary of the founding of Communist China, Hong Kong protesters are hoping to stage the largest pro-democracy demonstration since the 1989 Tiananmen protests. VOA's Brian Padden visited one of the protest sites mid-day, when the atmosphere was calm and where the supporters were enthusiastic about joining what they are calling the umbrella revolution.
Video

Video India's PM Continues First US Visit

India's prime minister is on his first visit to Washington, to strengthen political and economic ties between the world's oldest and the world biggest democracies. He came to the U.S. capital from New York, the first stop on his five-day visit to the country that denied him an entry visa in the past. From Washington, Zlatica Hoke reports Modi seemed most focused on attracting foreign investment and trade to increase job opportunities for his people.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid