By Janet Ekstract
İSTANBUL- Any hope that Turkish President Erdogan had of speeding up Turkiye’s accession to the EU was dashed on Tuesday when the European Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee adopted a report on Tuesday by 47 votes in favor with 10 abstentions that stated Turkiye’s accession process “cannot resume under the current circumstances.” One of the conditions that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had for giving the green light for Sweden to join NATO was that his country’s accession to the EU be sped up and fully supported by Sweden as well as being accepted by the EU. As the Turkish president previously stated: “First, let’s pave the way for Türkiye in the EU, and then we will pave the way for Sweden just as we did for Finland.”
On Wednesday, Turkish Justice Minister Yilmaz Tunc, said the European Parliament report on his country is one-sided and not objective. As Tunc commented on social media: “We regret to see that the report is far from evaluating the current reform works in Turkiye and the developments in the fields of human rights and rule of law objectively and based on data.” As Erdogan echoed: “Turkiye was kept waiting at the door of the European Union for over 50 years while almost all NATO members are EU members.” Part of the report stated: “Türkiye’s alignment rate with the EU’s common foreign and security policy has slipped to an all-time low of 7%, making it by far the lowest of all enlargement countries.” It also stated “a drastic change of course by the Turkish government” would be necessary for progress on EU accession. The report also presented new types of cooperation between Türkiye and the EU that should be followed up on.
Meanwhile, Türkiye Rapporteur Nacho Sanchez Amor who spoke at the European Parliament session, said: “we have recently seen a renewed interest from the Turkish government in reviving the EU access process. This will not happen because of geopolitical bargaining, but when Turkish authorities show real interest in stopping the continuous backsliding in fundamental freedoms and the rule of law.” Amor added: “If the Turkish government is sincere in this, they should show it with concrete reforms and actions.” Turkiye has had the longest negotiation process and the longest history with the EU and signed an association agreement in 1964 with the European Economic Community (EEC) which is normally viewed as the first step to becoming an EU candidate. Türkiye applied for official candidacy in 1987.
Türkiye’s Justice Minister Tunc said in response to the report: “It should be noted that the report in question was written unilaterally, under the influence of some marginalized circles, as we have seen frequently in EU circles in recent years. We hope that the aforementioned approach of the Committee will be abandoned by the EP General Assembly and a more objective, fair, consistent, data-based and scientific approach prepared for our country will be adopted.” Tunc added that his country will continue to highlight human rights and the rule of law. The report followed Turkish President Erdogan’s trip to the NATO Summit in Vilnius, Lithuania that requested the EU renew accession talks