By Anika Gatt Seretny
long and controversial negotiation process seems to have taken a new
turn. The EU’s most patient bidder seems to be losing its’
interest in Membership.
decades EU-Turkey relations, although not easy, were based on a
simple premise: Ankara was very keen on joining the 27 member club
and Brussels was playing hard to get.
the beginning of negotiations in 1987, Turkey has seen many countries
overtake it and enter the EU although having started their
negotiations years after Ankara.
the relationship warmed up in 2005 when the final accession agreement
was finally signed and Turkey’s Prime Minister Erdogan then set his
sights on joining the EU by 2012.
2012 today and Turkey’s still not in. More importantly, Jose Manuel
Barosso says that Ankara won’t be setting off its celebratory
fireworks from EU accession any time before 2021.
it’s nearly another decade that the country would have to wait
before entering the EU, Turkish officials still claim that Turkey
remains committed to joining. But are the Turkish people that
B for Bridge
support of EU membership dropped from 73 percent in 2003 to 38
percent in 2010. And future prospects don’t seem any brighter. The
Eurozone economy is stagnant, and Europe’s population is ageing.
Turkey, on the other hand, growth exceeded 8% last year. More than
half of its population is under 30 years old. With its young and
dynamic work force and large domestic market Turkey is no longer the
ugly sister you take in out of pity.
to Turkey’s great economic performance and an admirable workforce
to support it Turkey has also repositioned itself with regards to
foreign policy. Nowadays Turkey’s mantra is no longer west, west,
west. And it has started to pursue a more open approach with its’
Eastern neighbours. Turkey’s new foreign policy approach of “Zero
Problems with our Neighbours”, has won them recognition in the
world of diplomacy and now Turkey has a significant role to play in
Turkey is a different country to the one that applied in 1987. It is
stronger in the region, richer than ever and prouder of its heritage
is no surprise that taking into account all these changes Turkish
people are less interested in joining the weak, the poorer and
confused EU. If Turkey can get richer all by itself and be a
respected regional leader why would it be still join the 27 member
has been often referred to as the bridge between Eastern and Western
cultures. And Istanbul is pictured as being the iconic representation
of that statement. What is often overlooked is the fact that for any
bridge to continue to fulfil its function in crossing an obstacle or
gap then its superstructure must continue to rest on either of the
two banks. For if a bridge were attached to one side but not the
other, then it would cease to be a bridge. For Turkey to be the
mediator between the Arab world and European cannot be a part of
either. The good news is that today Turkey is perfectly positioned to
deliver on that promise.
the Ankara-Brussels’ promise of marriage might not be fulfilled.
But perhaps that’s not a bad thing. Some couples do better in long