Newsletter: 2/2009 - Turkey In Europe: Breaking The Vicious Circle

Bratislava Büyükelçiliği 07.09.2009

Turkey in Europe: Breaking the Vicious Circle, the second report of the Independent Commission on Turkey, analyzes the key developments in EU-Turkey relations and puts forward concrete steps necessary to revive negotiations.

Chapter Highlights

I. Treating Turkey fairly?

    • The European Council declared that Turkey should be treated like any other candidate state.
    • Substituting alternative arrangements for membership constitutes a breach of faith with Turkey.
    • Turkey-EU convergence has done much evident good for both sides and this virtuous circle must be re-established.

II. Turkey’s missed opportunities for reform

    • The slow-down of reforms can be dated to the start of accession negotiations.
    • If Turkey wants to align fully with European democracies it must recommit to the transformation process.

III. A new urgency in Cyprus

    • Failure in the talks could bring EU-Turkey negotiations to a standstill.
    • Talks risk succumbing to complacency and are running short of time.

IV. The Kurdish problem

    • AKPhas done more to improve the situation of Kurds than any previous government.
    • More has to be done to secure enduring social peace throughout Turkey.

V. Turkey and its region

    • Turkey contributes to crisis-solving, and serves as a world crossroads for energy transport.
    • Without Turkey, the EU's task in the region becomes a harder uphill struggle.

VI. Turkey's opening with Armenia

    • The Turkish Republic never faced up to atrocities committed during the dying days of the Ottoman Empire.
    • In April 2009, the two sides announced agreement on a "comprehensive framework" for normalization.

VII. Islam and the secular Turkish state

    • Secular Turks and Europeans are concerned with what they perceive as progressive “Islamisation” of Turkish society.
    • Secularism is a well-founded pillar of the Republic of Turkey.

VIII. Economic resilience

    • Both the budget deficit and debt stock of Turkey now meet the Maastricht criteria.
    • Turkey has large inter-regional differences in productivity levels and female participation.

Conclusions

The report's conclusions include:

    • The shared objective of negotiations with Turkey should be accession, not any alternative such as a "privileged partnership".
    • Turkey is a key geo-strategic partner for Europe, particularly its regional role and its central location for energy supplies from the Caspian Sea, Central Asia and the Middle East.
    • After a golden age of reforms between 2000 and 2005, a grand domestic political struggle has distracted Turkey from reforms. Two years without elections now lie ahead, and all sides must act now to prevent the country's convergence with the EU from stalling. Comprehensive, consistent and sustained progress towards more democracy at home is the best way to persuade more Europeans of Turkey's EU compatibility.
    • The Independent Commission remains convinced of the huge benefits of Turkish convergence with Europe, and eventual EU membership of a transformed Turkey, both for the country itself and the European Union.

Members of the Independent Commission

Martti Ahtisaari
Former President of Finland

Anthony Giddens
Former Director of the London School of Economics and Political Science

Kurt Biedenkopf
Former Prime Minister of Saxony, Germany

Marcelino Oreja Aguirre
Former Foreign Minister of Spain, former Secretary General of the Council of Europe, former European Commissioner

Emma Bonino
Former European Commissioner, Member of the European Parliament

Michel Rocard
Former Prime Minister of France, Member of the European Parliament

Hans van den Broek
Former Foreign Minister of Netherlands, former European Commissioner

Albert Rohan
Former Secretary General of Foreign Affairs, Austria

Bronislaw Geremek (In Memoriam)
Former Foreign Minister of Poland, Member of the European Parliament

Full text :http://www.independentcommissiononturkey.org/

The report is also available in the following languages:

French (PDF, 814KB)

German (PDF, 825KB)

Italian (PDF, 811KB)

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