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Turkey's hopes for EU still vain

Turkey's hopes for EU still vain

European Union is concerned about repeated cases of violence along with impunity in governmental structures.

As the year 2013 started, Turkey began talking about accession to EU again; as always, it first accused EU of biased approach and dislike towards the “most progressive country in the Middle East and the world”. These statements were voiced by Turkey-EU chief negotiator Egemen Bagis.

PanARMENIAN.Net - According to Bagis, European Union does not perceive how progressive Turkey’s reforms are. This statement came as a result of the EU expert report on Turkey’s progress towards integration, published in October 2012. In response, Ankara issued a 270-page report. Bagis claims that no government in Europe pursues more reforms than Turkey does. “While EU countries are fighting against the crisis, our country enjoys a period of prosperity, development of democracy and modernization,” he declared.

In its October report, the EU Commission admitted that Turkey is committed to pursuing reforms. However, according to EU experts, Ankara needs more efforts in terms of protection of human rights and avoidance of violence in judiciary system. EU voiced concerns over repeated cases of violence along with impunity in governmental structures.

The Commission which controls the process of the new states’ accession to EU believes that Turkey should seriously consider the issue of ensuring the freedom of speech. In addition, criticism was voiced with regard to constant arrests of activists advocating rights of Kurds; the report recommended that Ankara should reconsider its definition of “terrorism”.

The EU Commission’s report revealed no new details; all negative processes ongoing in Turkey are widely known, and they become obvious despite the efforts of the Turkish government to deny them.

Well-known writers and historians like Orhan Pamuk and Taner Akcam, as well as many Turkish intellectuals are leaving the country because of inability to speak and write about topics still tabooed in the Turkish society. The problem lies not only in the recognition of the Armenian Genocide in the Ottoman Empire but the Kurdish issue as well, and the rights of the national minorities in the broader sense.

There is yet another detail in the relations between Turkey and EU: the Iranian issue. Ankara is not going to join the embargo on oil and gas import from Iran, the Turkish minister of economy Zafer Chaglayan said a few days ago, claiming that Europe presses Turkey on deals with Iran by “gold for gas” scheme. Turkey imports 8 to 12 bln cubic meters of gas from Iran per year, which accounts for 20% of the country’s gas consumption. The total annual turnover between the countries makes $45 bln. If Turkey had to chose between EU and Iran, a close neighbor, be it Iran or Azerbaijan, would be preferable. As to Europe…Europe is for migrants who will turn it into another Muslim country in a few decades.

Turkey and EU started negotiations on Ankara’s accession back in 2005. Today, only 13 out of 35 points to be agreed are open for discussion.

Many influential politicians in France, Austria, Germany and other EU countries oppose Turkey’s membership in the European Union. France and Germany demanded that Ankara should ensure freedom of speech and religion prior to EU integration. The process of Turkey’s accession to EU is also delayed due to the dead-end situation with Cyprus. The latter is a member of the European Union, but the northern part of the island, the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, is recognized by Turkey only and has not joined EU.

Karine Ter-Sahakian
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