mead cohen berger shevtsova garfinkle michta grygiel blankenhorn
EU and Turkey Back on Track?


After a three-year delay, Turkey will resume membership negotiations with the EU in November. BBC reports:

The EU had first agreed to relaunch negotiations in June, but postponed the talks after members criticised Turkey’s crackdown on anti-government protests….

But it recognised that Turkey had introduced judicial reforms. It also praised the announcement last month by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan of a series of political reforms, including increased rights for Kurds.

This is good news. For all the EU’s faults, one of its strengths has been its ability to use the “power of attraction” to influence the behavior of its neighbors. By giving the cold shoulder to Turkey for so long, the EU risked losing that influence over an important geopolitical region.

There are still reasons to be skeptical about whether this will go anywhere, as interest in Turkey’s accession has been cooling on both sides. For Turkey, the EU’s economic woes make membership less enticing, and years of rejection have somewhat soured its public on the prospect. Meanwhile, many European citizens, discomfited by rising immigration, have never been particularly enthusiastic about Turkish accession in the first place. But regardless of the outcome, resumed talks are a positive sign that relations between the two are taking a turn for the better.

[Photo of EU and Turkish flags courtesy Shutterstock.]

Features Icon
show comments
  • lukelea

    “There are still reasons to be skeptical about whether this will go anywhere . . .”

    Or whether it is a good idea. Will it be good for Europe? Hard to see how. Will it be good for Turkey? Not if a lot of its better educated, more mobile nationals decide to emigrate, leaving the less smart, talented, educated majority behind.

    In terms of human welfare, it is much more important for less-developed (aka Third World) countries to attract brains from the developed world — which, if anything, as a surfeit — than the other way around. Maybe the EU and US should offer special tax incentives to citizens who emigrate (whether permanently or temporarily) to less developed areas.

    There is something grotesque about the notion that the US needs to attract the best and the brightest from all the poorest countries around the globe.

  • gabrielsyme

    Even if this were a good feint by the EU to try to induce positive change in the appallingly illiberal and oppressive society next door, the EU has too long a history of bureaucratic inertia and political correctness to be confident Turkey would remain outside; and Turkey in the EU could easily be a disaster for Europe.

  • Jacksonian_Libertarian

    Via Meadia’s bias that more and bigger diplomatic talks is always a good thing is foolish. Why would anyone want to join the EU and the Euro when both are so obviously getting ready to crash and burn, except to take advantage of the opportunity for a little looting and pillaging? Erdogan is looking for an opportunity to take credit for bringing down the European Infidels, or blame them for poor Turkish economic performance, either would be a good political move.

© The American Interest LLC 2005-2016 About Us Masthead Submissions Advertise Customer Service