Saturday

15th Aug 2020

Turkey angered by Franco-German enlargement remarks

  • The EU should stick to what it has promised, says Mr Gul (l) (Photo: European Commission)

Turkey has been promised that it will one day join the European Union and recent statements by some member states against Turkish EU membership are "violating" this understanding, Turkish president Abdullah Gul has said.

"There has been a unanimous decision [by EU member states] to start negotiations with Turkey" leading to its accession to the EU, Mr Gul was reported by AFP as saying on the sidelines of an official trip to neighbouring Syria on Sunday (17 May).

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

"Any discussion on this is tantamount to violating the decisions taken by the EU and would mean that the decision to start negotiations with Turkey was not sincere, that the heads of state took a decision that did not reflect their intentions."

"It would be unacceptable," Mr Gul added.

The Turkish president's remarks come as the leaders of France and Germany, president Nicolas Sarkozy and chancellor Angela Merkel, have repeatedly stated their opposition to Turkey's EU membership bid.

Mr Sarkozy has often said that Turkey does not belong to Europe and earlier this month said the EU should stop making vain promises to Ankara and offer it "a privileged partnership" instead.

For her part, at a meeting with Mr Sarkozy a week ago, Ms Merkel also said that the EU could not "take in everyone… as a full member."

"Our common position is: a privileged partnership for Turkey, but no full membership," she insisted.

A promise is a promise

In addition to Mr Gul, a number of high-ranking Turkish politicians have reacted to the French and German comments in the last few days, with prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan calling them "unfortunate."

"There is a statement that I always make: ‘The match has started, we're playing and the penalty rules are changing during the match.' It's not acceptable, people will laugh at you," Mr Erdogan was reported by Today's Zaman as saying during a visit in Warsaw last Thursday (14 May).

A day earlier in Stockholm, the country's new foreign minister, Ahmet Davutoglu, stressed that Ankara would only accept full membership. "We will either become a full member of the EU or not become a member at all," he said.

Some member states – such as the UK, Portugal and Poland – have taken Turkey's side, urging the EU to stick to its commitments.

"Poland will first of all keep reminding our EU partners that nobody spoke of additional conditions before for Turkey's EU accession," Polish prime minister Donald Tusk said after meeting Mr Erdogan in Warsaw.

"The EU set certain conditions [for membership] and when they are met the positive decision should be automatic," he added.

Turkey – a Euro-Asian country of some 70 million people – submitted an EU membership application in 1987 and was eventually granted the status of an EU candidate country in 1999.

It started membership talks with the bloc in October 2005, but they have been progressing slowly, with only ten chapters of the 35-chapter accession package having been opened so far, and just one successfully closed.

Turkey receives reassurance on EU membership bid

The European Commission as well as the current and upcoming EU presidencies on Tuesday reassured Turkey that it is negotiating for full membership of the European Union, despite France and Germany repeatedly stating their opposition.

Kosovo to restart EU/US-led Serbia talks

Restarting talks on Serbia relations will be the new Kosovo prime minister's top priority, he said, but will the EU or the US lead the process?

News in Brief

  1. Most EU states oppose US sanctions on Russia pipeline
  2. UK imposes quarantine on France, Netherlands, Malta
  3. At least 3.5m EU nationals to stay in UK
  4. UK urged to 'calm down' on migrants
  5. Pompeo starts EU tour with anti-Chinese 5G deal
  6. Dutch lawsuit seeks billions from tech firms
  7. Amazon people urge EU banks to stop funding pollution
  8. Russia vaccine could be "dangerous", Germany says

Opinion

Wanted: EU-US cooperation on Kosovo

International burden-sharing worked in Kosovo - until the Trump administration announced White House talks with the presidents of Kosovo and Serbia on June 27, leaving the EU special envoy for the Western Balkans in the dark.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNESDANext generation Europe should be green and circular
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNEW REPORT: Eight in ten people are concerned about climate change
  3. UNESDAHow reducing sugar and calories in soft drinks makes the healthier choice the easy choice
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersGreen energy to power Nordic start after Covid-19
  5. European Sustainable Energy WeekThis year’s EU Sustainable Energy Week (EUSEW) will be held digitally!
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic states are fighting to protect gender equality during corona crisis

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us