By Janet Ekstract
ISTANBUL-On Monday, at a meeting with Turkish ambassadors in Ankara, Turkiye’s Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan stated it’s “strategic blindness” to keep Turkiye out of the EU membership process. As Fidan commented: “It is essential to have a visionary view of Turkish-EU relations in the new era and revive the process with the perspective of full membership.” In a positive step, after Erdogan was reelected this year, the EU Commission had referred to renewing Turkiye’s EU bid. Senior EU officials indicated they would be amenable to a debate on Cyprus negotiations which had been hindering the EU process for Turkiye. Prior to the EU Commission’s summer recess in June, it announced it would draft a report on the status of Turkiye-EU relations.
Turkish officials read the report and were initially disappointed with the EU’s assessment of the type of progress EU officials said Turkiye must display and recently there was encouraging news since Erdogan held talks with European Council President Charles Michel and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen. Michel and von der Leyen indicated there was an opportunity to resume relations after the talks. EU ministers had convened with Turkish officials on the matter for the first time on July 20.
Turkiye’s accession process began decades ago and was left stalled due to the EU’s insistence on more transparency in a number of areas including freedom of speech, press freedom and human rights.