Marek Siwiec MEP on Poland & Europe

Lost opportunity

It is difficult to find a better example of the EU’s political disorientation than its relations with Turkey. And this is not about the outcome of the dilemma of Turkey’s membership in the EU. Europe is lost in its painful hesitations. Although no one withdrew the promise given in 1987, no one believes in the prompt admission of Turkey to the EU.

Turks are reserved in their comments. They have conscientiously noted, however, that according to the ranking of income per capita, presented by the International Monetary Fund, Turkey took 64th place in the world, higher than Bulgaria (67th position) and Romania (72). At the same time they do not have a particular perspective of the EU visa free regime.

Everyone knows that the process stopped for political reasons. EPP do not want Turkey in the EU. Meanwhile, in Ankara, you can hear the opinion that the political unification with the EU would limit Turkey’s freedom of action on the international scene. The new Ambassador of Turkey to the EU, Selim Yenel, has recently said that the foreign policy will be Ankara’s priority for 2012. “We have the measures to be active, and now some new possibilities appear” – he said. This quite enigmatic phrase means the offensive of Turkey in the Islamic world. From Tunisia to Iran. That is why Turkey has practically broken its relations with Israel.

Turkey is a regional economic and military power. It has its problems, among which the most important concerns the Kurds and their aspirations to own their own state. But that does not change the fact that even if Turkey is a Muslim country, it has a functioning democracy, and the state is separated from religious associations. If Turkey was closer to the EU, their experience could be promoted in North African countries, providing an alternative towards Islamic radicals. But it is not. So we’ll soon witness a situation when, during the presidency of Cyprus in the Council of the EU, in the second half of the year, EU’s candidate country, Turkey, will be boycotting the meetings on the island and all others who will be lead by the Cypriot presidency.

What is EU’s answer to this situation? Well, EU will endure such an affront, because there is no other policy towards Turkey that exists at the moment. EU reacts helplessly to what is done by this big neighboring country, having no alternative, except the prospect of membership, in which hardly anyone believes.

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  1. Turkey always was concerned about UE’s stuff, but we have to considered on their muslim roots. They’ve got a democracy, but is it a democracy in well-known shape? They are liberal…yes but as country with muslim tradition not like european way…

  2. I think that it will take long time for Turkey to rebuild their traditions, mentality, the way they think about human rights and women rights, and a lot of other aspects because, historically they are really different from european. If we talk about big cities like Istanbul or Ankara which improve very fast, what about the rest of country and especially regions?

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