An accession to grind: What’s next for EU-Turkey relations?
Speaking at a Sept. 16 press event, just before he boarded a plane to New York for the United Nations General Assembly, Turkish Pres. Recep Tayyip Erdoğan took a few questions.
In one reply, he cast renewed doubt on Sweden’s stalled NATO accession bid. In another, he alluded to the possibility of forgoing Turkey’s stalled EU accession process, albeit in his own way.
“The EU is trying to break away from Turkey,” he said. “We will make our evaluations in the face of these developments. After these evaluations, we can part ways with the EU, if necessary.”
Erdoğan was answering a question about the latest European Parliament report on Turkey, which amid a long list of mostly negative evaluations on rule of law, democratic norms and human rights in the candidate country, suggests Turkey’s “accession process cannot be resumed in the current circumstances,” basically supporting a 2018 decision to pause Turkey’s bid.
The difference now is Erdoğan also appears open to changing course, which was unexpected news for Nacho Sánchez Amor, the European Parliament's (EP) rapporteur on Turkey.
“This is very surprising because this is the same report that the parliament has produced in recent years,” Amor told Turkey recap. “And now the answer is different.”
As he told us in May, Amor has been calling for a new framework to manage EU-Turkey ties beyond the accession process. This comes as the 27-member bloc is seriously rethinking its enlargement strategy to include Ukraine, Moldova and the western Balkan nations.
With officials in both Brussels and Ankara seeking out realistic approaches to manage bilateral trade, geopolitics, security and more, Turkey recap spoke with diplomats and analysts in attempt to figure out where EU-Turkey relations might be heading next.