Friday, November 03, 2006

Turkey’s EU chances are dying a slow death......



Istanbul is currently being lashed by fierce storms, high winds and flash flooding. Grim weather. But an even worse storm is looming between the Turks and the EU. Turkey is intent on not applying an EU-wide customs agreement to Cyprus and instead keeping its port and airports closed to Cyprus. Turkey has refused to apply the agreement until the EU commits to ending the economic isolation of northern Cyprus. Emergency talks to try and unblock the impasse were cancelled yesterday.


If these issues are not satisfactorily resolved by the 31st December- the deadline the EU has set for Turkey to apply the customs agreement - then there is a real risk the talks will cease, with Cyprus, as any other member state, having the right to veto them. That prospect seems increasingly likely.

It’s not just about Cyprus. Turkey doesn’t get it- Unless you have very powerful friends inside the EU you are not going to make progress. It is not enough just to meet this or that standard. EU accession negotiations are not real “negotiations”. The accession talks are about you adopting the acquis communautaire (EU rules and laws). The key thing is how long you will need to adopt the different parts of the acquis - and get on with adopting it, making as much progress as you can during negotiations. But the Turks are far from realising any of this....

4 comments:

Colin said...

Isn't it a strange mind-set wanting to become a member of a union of states and at the same time refusing to recognize or trade with one of them?

istanbultory said...

Indeed. While Turkey and northern Cyprus supported the referendum in 2004 that would have brought a settlement to the Cyprus question, the Greek Cypriots did not. But that hardly matters. Cyprus is a member state, Turkey is merely a candidate for EU accession and a particularly weak one at that. More than a year ago, Ankara assented to extending the Customs agreement to Cyprus (and thus offering implicit recognition). Turkey has failed to make any progress on this commitment.By doing so, whatever their reasons or justifications for doing so,the Turks have boxed themselves into an impossible position. Turkey is now in the wrong, whatever water has flown under the bridge in the past.

Serf said...

Look on the bright side. If this all comes to a head, either AKP loses the next election or the army is free to get rid of them in traditional style.

istanbultory said...

Even now, opinion polls suggest that while the AKP is likely to emerge as the biggest single after the next elections, it will be unable to govern alone and other parties will probably be strong enough to oust the govt. I have always said the EU is the wrong option for Turkey. I will be delighted (for many reasons) when it eventually falls off the Turkish political agenda. Turkey's most urgent political agenda at present should be the end of the current (extremely dangerous)government. I do hope the Generals will up the ante.