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Turkey’s EU Accession Process: Perspectives and Risks at the beginning of 2008 By Prof. Dr. Marcou Senior Researcher at Istanbul French Institute of Anatolian.

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Presentation on theme: "Turkey’s EU Accession Process: Perspectives and Risks at the beginning of 2008 By Prof. Dr. Marcou Senior Researcher at Istanbul French Institute of Anatolian."— Presentation transcript:

1 Turkey’s EU Accession Process: Perspectives and Risks at the beginning of 2008 By Prof. Dr. Marcou Senior Researcher at Istanbul French Institute of Anatolian Studies

2 INTRODUCTION Turkey’s European wishes are old as the European Building Project  1947 : Turkey is taking part in the Marshall Plan.  1949 : Turkey joins as a member state the Council of Europe.  1952 : Turkey member of NATO.  1959 : Turkey applies for associate membership in the European Economic Community.  1963 : Association Agreement signed in Ankara. This agreement plans a full membership for Turkey (Walter Hallstein).

3 INTRODUCTION The Turkish Application (1987-1997)  1987 : Turgut Özal applies for Turkey formal membership into EC  1989 : European Commission refuses to immediately begin accession negotiations, citing Turkey’s economic and political situation, poor relations with Greece and their conflict in Cyprus, but overall reaffirming eventual membership as the goal.  1995 : EU-Turkey Customs Union is formed  1997 : the Luxembourg European Council of 1997 starts accession talks with central and eastern European states and Cyprus, but not with Turkey.

4 INTRODUCTION The Negotiations for Turkey’s Accession to the EU  1999 : The European Council of Helsinki recognises Turkey as a candidate on equal footing with other potential candidate.  Dec. 2002 : The European Council of Copenhagen states that "the EU would open negotiations with Turkey “without delay” if Turkey fulfils the Copenhagen Criteria.  3 October 2005 : opening of the negotiations between Turkey and the EU for a full membership, 6 chapters has been opened until now.  December 2006 : Taking into account the Greek Cypriot refusal of the Annan’s Plan, Turkey refuses to recognize Cyprus and to open its ports and airports to Cyprus. EU freezes 8 chapters of the negotiations.

5 Introduction  The aim of this presentation is to assess Turkey’s EU accession process main assets and risks in the current context of the 2008 first semester.

6 1- The Assets  1.1 The Economic Asset  1.2 The Military Asset  1.3 The Energy Asset  1.4 The Asset of an Active Civil Society and Lobbying

7 2- The Risks  2.1 The Risk of the development of Turco- scepticism in Europe  2.2 The Cypriot Risk  2.3 The Risk of the development of Euro- scepticism in Turkey  2.4 The Risk of an exclusive tactical attitude of AKP towards the candidacy  2.5 The Risk of the present political crisis

8 1.1 The Economic Asset  Turkey is a developed country (founding member of the OECD) and considered at present as the 17th largest economy in the world (list of the IMF).  Turkey main trading partner is the EU  Turkey has taken advantage of the Customs Union Agreement signed with the EU in 1995 (increasing its exportation and benefiting from EU- origin investments).  From 2002 to 2007 the average economic growth rate has been above 7%  GDP per capita is 9333 $ (2007)

9 1.1 The Economic Asset  According a survey of “Eurostat” in 2006 Turkey’s minimum monthly wage (331 €) was larger than the minimum wage in 9 EU member states (including Bulgaria and Romania).  Turkey would take the same benefit from the membership that the Southern Countries which entered the EU during the 80’s.  But taking into account the budgeting reductions of the EU after 2013, Turkey won’t get the support of the structural Funds

10 1.2 The Military Asset  As Europe is planning to increase the development of its Foreign and Defence Policy, Turkey will stay an important military ally given to its geographical position between the Mediterranean, the Middle East and Russia  Trough its NATO Membership, Turkey has already an influence on the EU Foreign Policy even it is not part of it.

11 1.3 The Energy Asset  Turkey has become a vital energy corridor for Europe by virtue of the gas and oil pipelines that are passing by (or planed to pass by) its territory.  The “Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan” (BTC) pipeline (working since 2006) has shown that Turkey for political and technical reasons was the safest and most economic route for exporting oil or gas from the Caspian Sea.  The “Nabucco” Project to be ended in 2013 constitutes an essential alternative to the present monopole of the Russian (Gasprom) gas corridor.

12 1.4 The Asset of an Active Civil Society and Lobbying  Since the agreement association in 1963, an important network of institutions has been developed in Turkey to support the European project.  2 kinds of institutions are active: - Economic institutions like TÜSIAD (Türk Sanayicileri ve Isadmalari Dernegi), TOBB (Türkiye Odalar ve Borsalar Birligi), IKV (Iktisadi Kalkinma Vakfi)… - NGOs and Think tanks like TESEV (Türk Ekonomik ve Sosyal Etüdler Vakfi)  In Brussels: more than 250 Turkish organizations are lobbying since the 60’s and these organizations are generally more efficient in their tasks than the Central and Eastern European ones.

13 How strong are Turkish Main Assets?  These assets are of course important but it is important to observe that most of them are mainly assets for the future of Europe.  Turkey Economy has to continue its adaptation to European Standards.  As Europe has not definitively completed its strategy on these points, military and energy issues are of course vital for Europe but on the prospect of the next decades,

14 2.1 The Risk of the development of the Turco-scepticism in Europe  Since the last five years, a group of 7 member States (France, Germany, Netherlands, Luxemburg, Austria, Denmark, Cyprus) are opposing Turkish accession to the EU has risen.  Most of the times, in these countries Turkey, accession to EU is not assessed per se but handled to provide arguments in the national political debate.  In France, the Turkish issue divided the ruling party (Chirac- Sarkozy) and finally the government changed its position after Sarkozy’s election at the Presidency.  In Germany the Turkish issue is opposing SPD and CDU

15 2.2 The Cypriot Risk  The fossilization of the Cypriot conflict is one of the biggest hurdles to Turkey’s joining the EU.  Of course the recent election of Demetris Chistofias, his last meeting with Mehmet Ali Talat and the symbolic opening of Ledra Street’s check point have re-launched the hope of a settlement.  But the Turkish Military still considers Cyprus as its reserved domain and this could embarrass Erdogan’s government in the future negotiations.  Indeed being to flexible, in the present political situation, the AKP government could be accused (as he had already been in 2004 when he accepted the Annan’s Plan) to sell of Turkey’s national interests.

16 2.3 The Risk of the Euro-scepticism Development in Turkey  Following the failure of the Annan’s Plan in Cyprus and the difficulties of the negotiations launched in 2005, Turkish public opinion has become increasingly Eurosceptic in the recent times.  As the announcement of the opening membership talks with the EU, in 2004, was first celebrated with much fanfare, a mid-2006 “Eurobarometer” survey revealed that only 43% of Turkish citizens view the EU positively.  However a recent survey (beginning of April) shows that the recent trial against AKP has reinforced the support of public opinion towards the European integration.

17 2.4 The Risk of an exclusive tactical attitude of the present AKP government  Since its creation in 2001, AKP has always strongly supported the European application as all the previous Islamist parties (MSP in the 70’s, Refah in the 90’s) had rejected it.  European strategy is seen by the AKP as a solution to avoid new military interventions.  The 2001-2004 period has been an incredible moment of reforms in Turkey: demilitarization, reinforcement of the rule of the law, development of the human rights and recognition of the Kurdish Community rights…  At the beginning of its first term, AKP government has followed up the reform movement launched in 2001, but since 2004, after the opening of the membership negotiations, the reforms process has been stopped.

18 2.4 The Risk of an exclusive tactical attitude of the present AKP government  During the first term of the AKP government, the president of the Republic and the establishment vetoed sometimes reforms impulse by Recep Tayyip Erdogan considering that they could be dangerous for the centralized and secularist Turkish Republic.  The Turkish paradox today is the following: former Islamists support European application while a large part of the Kemalists and Secularits rejects it.  But is AKP really converted to European values?  Recently, a petition of liberal elites which supported the AKP government since the beginning urged the government to resume reforms and asked the political forces in Turkey to stop handling Europe for domestic needs.

19 2.5 The Risk of the present political Crisis  In 2007, the presidential and legislative elections provoke a strong bi-polarization opposing the ruling party (AKP) and political and military establishment  After its landslide victory in the July 2007 at the general elections and the election of Abdullah Gül as the President of the Republic, AKP launched in Autumn 2007 the project of a new “civilian constitution”.  This process provoked a debate on the opportunity to amend the present Constitution to lift the ban of the headscarf in Universities (set up by a decision of the Constitutional Court in 1991).

20 2.5 The Risk of the present political Crisis  In February 2008 the Parliament adopted amendment intending to lift the ban of the headscarf despite strong critics from the Judiciary.  On 14 March 2008, an indictment of the general prosecutor Yalçinkaya presented to the Constitutional Court calls for the AKP to be banned and for 71 party members (among them Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the Turkish prime minister, and Abdullah Gül, the president), to be barred from politics, arguing that this party and politicians were trying to hollow out Turkish traditional separation of religion and State.  At the beginning of April 2008 the Constitutional Court agreed to hear the case filed by the public prosecutor for the closure of AKP…

21 2.5 The present political Crisis  The procedure launched to ban the ruling party poses a grave risk to Turkey’s bid to join the EU.  Indeed the ban of AKP could lead to a political and economic destabilization of the country.  It also could cast doubt on Turkey’s democracy and rule of the Law within the European Union and its member states

22 The End Edited by Jean Marcou April 2008


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