EU Accession: Turkish Talks to Continue Despite Berlin Tiff

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's response to recent protests has concerned many European leaders. Zoom
REUTERS

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's response to recent protests has concerned many European leaders.

The European Union agreed on Tuesday to continue accession talks with Turkey, but only after a progress report due in October. The compromise deal serves to defuse the recent acrimonious dispute between Ankara and Berlin.

At first glance, it sounds like a typical European compromise. European Union ministers agreed on Tuesday to resume accession negotiations with Turkey, though they opted to delay the talks until October. And Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu welcomed the decision, telling reporters that "a hurdle standing in the way of relations between the EU and Turkey has been overcome."

In reality, however, the decision reached on Tuesday represents only a temporary resolution to a growing conflict between Ankara and Berlin that has threatened to significantly damage Turkey's relations with both the European Union and Germany.

The reopening of accession talks between Brussels and Ankara had originally been scheduled for this Wednesday. But ongoing protests against Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Istanbul, in combination with his government's forceful attempts to put a halt to the demonstrations, have raised eyebrows in European capitals. Furthermore, comments by Turkish Minister for European Affairs Egemen Bagis, in which he was sharply critical of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, did little to increase willingness in Berlin to rush back into accession negotiations.

Earlier this week, after Merkel had said that she found police reaction to the demonstrations in Istanbul "too harsh," Bagis replied by saying: "If Ms. Merkel takes a closer look, she will see that those who mess about with Turkey do not find an auspicious end." He also urged Merkel to consider not only the thousands of German companies that do business in Turkey but also the "3.5 million blood brothers" who live and vote in Germany.

'Strong Reaction'

Bagis allegedly also told European politicians that Turks in Germany could launch mass demonstrations against Merkel and that he couldn't guarantee stability in Germany were that to happen. Merkel reportedly was furious and interpreted Bagis' comments as a direct threat. Ankara had also said that there would be a "strong reaction" were talks cancelled altogether.

On Monday, however, German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle stepped in with a possible compromise, suggesting that European ministers send a political signal that continued accession negotiations are desirable, but that they should be delayed until October when a report on Turkey's progress toward EU membership is due for presentation. It is that compromise proposal that was accepted in Brussels on Tuesday.

At issue was the opening of chapter 22 of the aquis communautaire, the list of requirements that candidate countries must meet to be admitted into the European Union. Berlin has suggested that talks over chapters 23 and 24, which focus on issues such as the judiciary, freedoms and fundamental rights, be opened this autumn as well.

In addition to averting open conflict with Ankara, Tuesday's agreement is helpful for Merkel in that it pushes the accession talks until after German elections in September. Her party and many conservative voters in Germany are opposed to Turkish accession to the EU.

cgh -- with wire reports

Article...
  • For reasons of data protection and privacy, your IP address will only be stored if you are a registered user of Facebook and you are currently logged in to the service. For more detailed information, please click on the "i" symbol.
  • Post to other social networks

Comments
Discuss this issue with other readers!
1 total post
Show all comments
    Page 1    
1. Turkey's admittance to the EU
george.sanders.cm 06/26/2013
Are the inhabitants of the EU going to be consulted on whether they wish to have millions of Turkish citizens foisted upon them? Can we afford the influx of presumably poor Turks? Is this just a cynical exercise by the Turkish government to get rid of their impoverished masses?
Show all comments
    Page 1    
Keep track of the news

Stay informed with our free news services:

All news from SPIEGEL International
Twitter | RSS
All news from Europe section
RSS

© SPIEGEL ONLINE 2013
All Rights Reserved
Reproduction only allowed with the permission of SPIEGELnet GmbH




Photo Gallery
Photo Gallery: The 'Fringe' that Could Threaten Erdogan
Graphic: What Turks Want Zoom
DER SPIEGEL

Graphic: What Turks Want


Graphic: A survey of Turkish public opinion Zoom
DER SPIEGEL

Graphic: A survey of Turkish public opinion

Photo Gallery
Photo Gallery: The Erdogan Way


European Partners
Presseurop

Politiken

Corriere della Sera

Chamber of Deputies Passes Jobs Act

Gang Boss and Weekend Paramedic


Facebook
Twitter