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EU-Turkey: adieu, membership!

erdogan

Anna van Densky, OPINION

A long journey of Turkey to the European Union clearly came to a halt
– in the European Parliament’s plenary there were just a few MEPs to
suggest the accession process should continue in spite of the dramatic
developments in the candidate country after the failed coup d’état.

The overwhelming majority of the MEPs called upon freezing the
accession process started back in 1999.They reiterated rhetoric
questions about honesty in evaluating current situation in Turkey as if
fitting the Copenhagen criteria of a democratic society. The
aftermath of the coup turned into tsunami of  outrageous violations of
democratic freedoms.

One doesn’t need to refer to the Amnesty International’s annual report
for the numerous evidences of torture, violations of freedoms of
speech, unfair trials, degradation of women’s rights. The laws
offering rapists to marry the victims scandalized the world, and
arrests of politicians and journalist became a left the most ardent friends
of Turkey speechless. The Kurdish issue has been set ablaze
with arrests of the co-leaders of the HDK party.

It looks the card of the significance of the Turkey NATO membership was
overplayed by president #Erdogan to such an extend that even the most
staunch supporters of accession process were running out of
arguments.

The major fear of accession talks halt  is the galloping Islamisation
of the Turkish society, which will certainly continue even at higher
speed without the outside stimulus as the EU membership to keep the
society secular. However the accession talks didn’t proof to be
successful so far as a tool of promoting European values in
Turkey, and it make little sense to pretend that keeping accession
formally open would introduce a major change with an exception of loss
of credibility in the eyes of Turkish people, who expect solidarity
from Europeans.

The other issue which brings some hesitations over talks halt is
possibility of Turkey shifting closer to Russia, which is rather bleak
in view of ongoing Syrian conflict were positions of both countries
are difficult to aline.

There were also fears expressed that the freeze might solidify and become
permanent, meaning an end to an entire epoc of EU Enlargement policy.
These sentiments of regrets were challenged by MEP Charles Tannock (UK, ECR),
who reminded the fellow politicians that the accession of #Turkey played
a significant role in #Brexit vote. One can add that French
vote against EU Constitution (2005) was also influenced by an idea
of Turkey joining the EU.
Although overdue the move of taking distance from authoritarian Turkey,
increasingly reminiscent of the Ottoman Empire ruled by ‘Sultan’ #Erdogan,
it might still have a consolidating effect of the EU torn by multiple crisis es.
The decision to freeze the accession talks with Turkey is awaited
at the European Council in December.

Brussels-Strasbourg

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