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Turkey-EU relations: time to rebuild trust 19 octobre 2012

Posted by Acturca in Turkey-EU / Turquie-UE.
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Commentary (European Policy Centre) 19 October 2012

Amanda Paul *

Ever since Turkey and the EU began membership negotiations in 2005, the process has been riddled with difficulties which have impacted on broader Turkey-EU ties. Relations took a further blow last week following the publication of the European Commission’s 2012 Progress Report. Out of the fifteen reports that Turkey has received to date, this was one of the hardest-hitting in recent times, criticising Ankara in several areas.

The report produced an out-pouring of anger and frustration from Ankara. Turkey’s Minister for European Integration and Chief Negotiator Egemen Bagis launched a scathing attack, declaring the report reflected “the efforts of the EU, which is in a financial economic and political crisis, to delay Turkey’s EU membership with various excuses”.

It is quite a paradoxical situation, On the one hand, the EU declares Turkey to be a key economic and political partner with which it desires an increasingly close relationship. EU foreign policy chief Baroness Catherine Ashton regularly describes Turkey as a crucial foreign policy partner, including as a conduit between the EU and the Arab world. On the other hand, Turkey’s accession talks remain frozen, which has impacted on Turkey’s willingness to carry out EU-related reforms and has eroded trust between the two partners. This vicious circle continues to poison relations and needs to be broken.

* Amanda Paul is a policy analyst at the European Policy Centre (EPC) in Brussels.

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