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Turkey’s E.U. Bid 25 juin 2013

Posted by Acturca in EU / UE, Turkey / Turquie, Turkey-EU / Turquie-UE.
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The New York Times (USA) Tuesday, June 25, 2013, p. A24


For 26 years, Turkey has been angling for membership in the European Union, only to see its bid thwarted. Now, with the union on the verge of reviving talks on Turkey’s accession, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s outrageous crackdown on antigovernment protests in recent weeks is giving some Europeans a new excuse to question whether Turkey merits membership.

Mr. Erdogan has refused to seek political compromise with protesters who opposed a plan to build a shopping mall and a mosque in a park in Taksim Square in Istanbul, and he has directed police to subdue them with tear gas, water cannons and rubber bullets. Thousands have been detained, and at least four people have been killed. Mr. Erdogan and other officials have denigrated their critics as terrorists and accused them of planning to topple the government. The leaders have promised to deploy the Army if the police cannot contain the unrest.

Mr. Erdogan’s harsh, even dangerous, attacks on Europe and foreign journalists are at odds with the goal of membership in an economic union whose 35 criteria include a respect for civil rights, freedom of the press and other democratic values, as well as compliance with free-market principles. On Monday, after the 27-nation bloc criticized his authoritarian ways, he denounced the union as « anti-democratic » and said he would no longer recognize the European Parliament.

Talks on Turkey’s membership, stalled for three years, were supposed to resume on Wednesday, but Germany, which has long opposed Turkey’s accession, last week blocked negotiations. On Monday, however, Germany suggested a compromise that would postpone negotiations until the fall. European foreign ministers are supposed to decide how to proceed at a meeting on Tuesday.

Mr. Erdogan deserves the strongest possible criticism, but membership in the European Union is a strategic imperative that, like NATO membership, is intended to bind Turkey to the West. Endeavoring to meet the bloc’s criteria has already encouraged Turkey to make important political and economic reforms. Given the recent turmoil, Mr. Erdogan will have to show that he is willing to accept dissent in a democracy and capable of making further reforms. It would be a mistake, however, to fuel the estrangement between Europe and Turkey by shutting down the membership negotiations completely.


1. Turkey’s Democratic Path | ACTURCA - 2 août 2013

[…] days after your editorial "Turkey undermines its bid to join the E.U." (June 26), the E.U. decided to resume talks with Turkey by opening the Regional Policy […]

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