“Turquía es un país indispensable para la UE en diversos campos”
Comentarios de la especialista Aylin Noi, profesora e invstigadora de la Escuela de Estudios Internacionales Avanzados de la Universidad Johns Hopkins y miembros del Patronato de la FACM, sobre la reación EU-Turquía . EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini on Monday underlined the bloc’s determination to maintain membership talks with Turkey.
She also pointed to EU-Turkish partnership in various areas, from counterterrorism to Cyprus and Syria.
Her statements followed Sunday’s televised debate over Turkey between German Chancellor Angela Merkel and her center-left rival Martin Schulz.
During the debate, Schulz suggested pausing EU membership talks with Turkey and freezing its pre-accession funds worth €4 billion ($4.68 billion).
For years, Merkel has supported a “privileged” partnership model for Turkey without granting membership.
Although the membership process for Turkey has been stalled for years, the EU ending accession talks with a candidate country would be unprecedented.
“Sometimes we tend to forget that Turkey is a key player in a region that is strategically important for us: The Middle East, the Mediterranean,” said Mogherini.
“So we will continue talks. It will be up to the internal discussions we will have, and most of all to the discussions we will have together with them to define the future of our relations,” she added, assuring proponents of Turkish membership.
“We are not always agreeing on everything. There are some issues… that are taking our positions very much apart, but talks continue.”
Cigdem Nas, secretary-general of the Economic Development Foundation in Istanbul, underlined the need to separate Turkey’s accession talks from wider Turkey-EU relations.
“While Merkel and Schulz mostly emphasize the accession talks and customs union modernization, Mogherini has a more strategic perspective,” Nas told Arab News.
“Mogherini focuses on Turkey’s role as a partner of the EU in dealing with common problems such as terrorism, migration, foreign policy crises and so on.”
Nas said Mogherini knows that the EU needs Turkey as a willing partner to fend off threats from nearby regions, so she avoids antagonizing Ankara as much as possible. “Mogherini acts more as a mediator in this regard,” she said.
On Turkish-German relations, Nas said: “The looming German elections, the existence of a considerable population of citizens and migrants of Turkish origin in Germany, and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s comments about them and about German politics, all had a role in the tense relationship between the two countries.”
German leaders see themselves as defenders of Europe and European values, and see Turkey as the other and a threat to what Europe stands for, she added.
Aylin Noi, non-resident senior fellow at Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies, said Mogherini’s statements should be examined in the context of the EU’s Global Strategy on Foreign and Security Policy, which she presented last year.
EU support for Turkey’s accession process is mainly based on this strategy, which upholds cooperation in key areas, Noi added.
“With this strategy, the EU is now built on a principled pragmatism in its international relations, including with candidate countries like Turkey,” she told Arab News.
“It’s an approach that supports a realistic policy by understanding interests and power politics while maintaining democratic leverage,” Noi said.
“Turkey is an indispensable country for the EU in various fields — including energy, refugees, economics, and relations with regions like the Balkans and North Africa — in which the EU can’t succeed without Ankara’s assistance.”
Noi said deteriorating German-Turkish relations will not influence the pace of accession talks, but will delay customs union modernization with Turkey.