This website is an archive of the work of Marietje Schaake in the European Parliament between 2009 and 2019. Marietje can be reached at

Media (Carnegie Europe) - Can the EU Do Business With Erdoğan?

Recep Tayyip Erdoğan & Jean-Claude Juncker This commentary by Marietje Schaake was published today by Carnegie Europe. By Judy Dempsey. Judy Asks: Can the EU Do Business With Erdoğan? Every week, a selection of leading experts answer a new question from Judy Dempsey on the foreign and security policy challenges shaping Europe’s role in the world. Marietje Schaake, Member of the European Parliament Europe and Turkey should work together on several issues of mutual interest, such as shared strategic objectives, migration, and trade. Yet shared goals should not overshadow the areas where opinions differ—and that seems to be exactly what happened as President Erdoğan met with EU leaders in Brussels this week. Worried by flows of refugees coming to Europe, often through Turkey, EU leaders sought commitments on better border controls. While the Turkish authorities initially chose to manage the influx from Syria on their own, it is only fair that the EU shares the burden now that Turkey wants help. But cooperation requires trust and, despite the press statements, trust is low. Concern over where Turkey is heading is great—so great, that it seems to paralyze Brussels. The escalation of violence after increased PKK terrorism must be stopped and peace negotiations revived. After years of systematic problems with press freedom and the rule of law, a lack of separation of powers, and snap elections only weeks away, the EU must not only do business with Turkey’s government. It must also be crystal clear that EU-Turkey relations cannot be business as usual as long as there are no democratic reforms. European leaders must address the deep polarization in Turkish society and be clear about expectations of respecting fundamental rights and freedoms. They must not walk away from difficult topics. Addressing these issues would send the clear message to the people in Turkey that the principles that the EU claims to be based on actually mean something. For more commentaries, click here.
See also 01-09-2015 Written Questions on press freedom in Turkey 08-06-2015 MEP: Turkish election results offer opportunity to improve EU-Turkey relations 20-05-2015 Plenary debate on the 2014 Progress Report on Turkey 01-05-2015 MEP: Turkey must reverse authoritarian trend to remain a key EU partner 22-04-2015 MEPs: We must defend all those standing on the front-line for free speech in Turkey 07-04-2015 Media (CNN) – Schaake: Turkey internet blockade is bad for business 31-03-2015 MEP responds to acquittal 236 suspects in Balyoz/Sledgehammer case 25-03-2015 Parliamentary Questions on the Turkish internet bill 27-01-2015 Amendments to 2014 Progress Report on Turkey