The position of European leaders on Turkey’s membership in the European Union

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According to international news agencies, the leaders of the green continent discussed at the last meeting of the European Union leaders in Brussels several important issues and themes.

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Issues such as relations between the European Union and Russia, the migration process, the economic consequences of the large-scale spread of the coronavirus and issues related to the customs union agreement with Turkey.

Before the meeting, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and the leader of the Justice and Development Party (AKP) called the European Union Commission Ursula von der Leyen.

They called on the European Union to take a serious look at Turkey’s EU membership process.

But the evidence suggests that Europeans at the moment have more important issues.

In addition, the extent of their political and legal differences with Turkey is much greater than the possibility of completing Turkey’s membership and accession to the European Union in the short term.

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There was clear goodwill towards Turkey in the Brussels meeting yesterday.

And in the speeches of several EU leaders, especially German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

However, The current situation it must be said that EU leaders have a positive attitude towards Turkey in many ways.

But there are still no serious talks about Turkey’s full EU membership.

Important sign for Turkey

The apparent disagreement among EU leaders over how to take a stand against Russia is not a secret question, and this disagreement was revealed publicly yesterday.

Merkel and Macron seem to have an appropriate view of Russia and have recommended that a face-to-face meeting with Vladimir Putin be on the agenda.

But other EU leaders refused to accept the offer of France and Germany to hold a joint meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Whereas, at the summit of the 27 member states of the European Union, which lasted until late Thursday 24 June, some countries took a hard line towards Putin.

Poland and the Baltic states saw Merkel and Macron’s offer to meet Putin as a signal, and said they did not see the idea in the interest of the European Union.

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The original idea for a meeting with Putin came from Emmanuel Macron, after Biden and Putin’s last meeting in Geneva.

But other European leaders say European-Russian relations cannot be compared to US-Russian relations.

Earlier, in 2014, the last EU-Putin summit was held in January 2014.

But those meetings ended after Russia annexed Crimea and Western sanctions began.

Merkel and Macron’s plan stresses that the EU must be firm and united in its dealings with Moscow.

But the EU must work with the Kremlin on issues of common concern, such as climate change, health, the nuclear deal with Iran, and the conflicts in Syria and Libya.

Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz agreed.

But Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte and other leaders believe in applying pressure and increasing sanctions on Russia, over issues such as Ukraine, Belarus, cyberattacks and security disputes in the Baltic Sea.

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The important disagreement between EU leaders over Russia, from the point of view of Turkey’s interests and Ankara’s relationship with the EU, shows two facts:

  • Developing relations with one or two powerful members of the European Union and even attracting the attention of the heads of the Commission, the Council and other EU institutions alone is not enough for Turkey, especially since the veto is possible for all EU members.
  • The issue of Russia is very important not only to the United States but also to Russia, and Turkey must at this point organize its relations with Russia in a way that does not contradict the European Union.

A message from Angela Merkel

German Chancellor Angela Merkel is going through the final weeks of her political term.

With her departure, Turkey loses the politician who entered the field in historical moments, and every time in an appropriate and mediated way.

In her speech at yesterday’s meeting, Angela Merkel showed a positive attitude towards Turkey.

She said Turkey has done a great job by taking in 3.7 million Syrian refugees and deserves 3.5 billion euros in financial and political support and assistance.

Merkel believes that the issue of immigration and customs should be discussed with Turkey.

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Customs Union

One of the main motivations for Turkey to become a full member of the European Union is to take advantage of the advantages of free trade with European countries and reduce export costs.

To this end, negotiations were conducted with Turkey on the customs agreement of the European Union and relative concessions were granted to Turkey.

But Turkish officials say the previous agreement is now of little financial value and needs to be reviewed.

The European side stated that technical studies had begun on the mandate of the European Union Commission to update the customs union agreement with Turkey.

Technical talks between Turkey and the European Union on the upgrade are also expected to resume.

According to the current schedule, representatives of the two sides are expected to meet at the director general level in the first half of July.

The European Union, Turkey and the Eastern Mediterranean

An important aspect of yesterday’s talks between EU leaders in Brussels was addressing the political situation in the Eastern Mediterranean and easing Turkish tensions with actors in this field.

Although the EU leaders have not publicly expressed their support, all of their indirect statements reflect the fact that they do not have a similar view of Turkey, Greece and Cyprus.

Because from their point of view, Cyprus and Greece are already official members of the union and both are Christian.

But Turkey is a Muslim country that is only a candidate.

And so far, it has seriously intervened and demonstrated its power in the most sensitive European region in the eastern Mediterranean, which is Cyprus.

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The positions of the EU leaders in this case contain several clear messages, which the Turkish authorities are not pleased with:

  • The European Union is pleased with the easing of tensions in the Eastern Mediterranean. But at the same time it has no proposals or ideas or efforts to reach a final solution, and only wants to freeze the tensions between Greece, Turkey and Cyprus.
  • The European Union is concerned about the attitude of the Turkish government towards Cyprus. And, contrary to Turkey’s wishes, has clearly declared that the strategy of establishing two governments on the island of Cyprus is unacceptable.
  • The European Union has described the measures taken by Turkey and Turkish Cypriots to reopen abandoned Cyprus as worrying.

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Finally, Turkey’s differences with the European Union on important issues such as political norms, democracy and human rights, as well as differing views on the eastern Mediterranean, Greece and Cyprus, are more important and vital than comprehensive negotiations.

As a result, the Turkish authorities have certainly realized that the relationship between Turkey and the European Union is only at the level of maintaining economic and trade cooperation (excluding customs duties and facilities for members) and some political cooperation.

So we can say that in the medium term, there is probably no hope for Turkey’s full membership in the European Union.