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. Please find the response by Marietje Schaake below, and from others on the Carnegie website. Marietje Schaake Vice-chair of the European Parliament Delegation for Relations With the United States European Commissioner Frans Timmermans put the EU in a very weak corner by rushing to strike a deal with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan at the EU-Turkey summit on November 29. There will be no easy wins, even if the postsummit press releases suggest so. Instead, there is a risk of a major backlash. The unprecedented horse-trading of entirely separate topics—the sheltering of refugees, visa liberalization, and Turkey’s EU accession—has created a political cocktail that could prove explosive. The European Commission has promised something it does not hold in its own hands: the accession of a new EU member state requires unanimity among existing members, and visa liberalization needs majorities in the Council of Ministers and the European Parliament. These complex procedures are in sharp contrast with Turkey’s high expectations. And the criteria for visa liberalization and accession cannot be bent for political reasons. The Copenhagen criteria for EU membership are solid, yet the commission has just sent the opposite message. On top of regional tensions, polarization in Turkey has reached an all-time low. The arrest of two prominent journalists on November 26 and the murder two days later of a human rights lawyer in the southeastern Turkish city of Diyarbakir brought the country to boiling point, right when Turkish leaders were shaking hands with their EU counterparts. The choice to postpone the European Commission’s report on Turkey’s progress toward accession and to exclude references to human rights and the rule of law from the conclusions of the November 29 summit sends a terrible signal to the population of Turkey. It is also not in line with the concerns of European society or of the European Parliament. While the deal reached at the summit was supposed to revive EU-Turkey relations, it was in fact stillborn. The agreement seems to have served domestic political purposes on both sides, but in reality these political benefits are wearing off, and the hard results remain to be seen.
See also on Turkey:Media (Euronews: The Network) – Are refugees or civil rights the priority in Turkey? 26-10 Media (France24, Talking Europe) – The EU and Turkey: Who needs whom more? 20-10 Blog (Project Syndicate) – Talking Tough to Turkey 23-10 Letter to President Juncker and High Representative Mogherini concerning the EU-Turkey Joint Action Plan 12-10 Written Questions on halting the broadcast of tv channels in Turkey 01-09 Written Questions on press freedom in Turkey 08-06 MEP: Turkish election results offer opportunity to improve EU-Turkey relations 21-05 MEP: Turkey must reverse authoritarian trend to remain a key EU partner 20-05 Plenary debate on the 2014 Progress Report on Turkey 22-04 MEPs: We must defend all those standing on the front-line for free speech in Turkey 07-04 Media (CNN) – Schaake: Turkey internet blockade is bad for business 06-04 Media (Bloomberg) – Facebook, Twitter to Appeal as Turkey Blocks Social Media 31-03 MEP responds to acquittal 236 suspects in Balyoz/Sledgehammer case Photo: European Union