Tuesday

16th Apr 2024

EU commissioner calls for new Turkey policy

  • Hahn (l) justified his demand with Erdogan's interference in the Bundestag election campaign. (Photo: ec.europa.eu)

EU enlargement commissioner Johannes Hahn has called for a change of course for the EU on Turkey's accession to join the bloc, after president Recep Tayyip Erdogan urged Turks living in Germany not to vote for the county's two ruling parties in the upcoming September elections.

Erdogan said last week that German citizens with Turkish origins should not vote for chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats (CDU), Martin Schulz’s Social Democratic Party (SDP) or the Green Party, because they had demonstrated an anti-Turkey stance.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Get the EU news that really matters

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

... or subscribe as a group

  • 'The interference of president Recep Tayyip Erdogan in a national election campaign ... are unacceptable' (Photo: Turkish presidency)

"I believe it is time for the member states to discuss the strategic implications of this behaviour. Shrugging your shoulders is not a political strategy in the long run," Johannes Hahn told German daily Sueddeutsche Zeitung on Monday (21 August).

Hahn justified his demand with Erdogan's interference in the Bundestag election campaign, as well as Ankara's forced extradition request of the German-Turkish author Dogan Akhanli.

"The interference of president Recep Tayyip Erdogan in a national election campaign, as well as requests for extradition regarding alleged political opponents are unacceptable," said the Austrian EU commissioner, who has been in charge of the EU enlargement policies since 2014.

Armed police arrested Dogan Akhanli on Saturday morning at his hotel in Granada, Spain. He was handcuffed and driven to a regional HQ for questioning.

The 60-year-old writer was later freed, but is not allowed to leave Spain until judges have decided whether to extradite him to Turkey.

The arrest of a Turkish dissident has highlighted the way rogue regimes use Interpol to hunt their enemies inside the EU.

The European Parliament voted in July by a large majority to suspend Turkey's membership talks with the EU, saying president Erdogan's crackdown on political opponents meant Ankara did not meet the bloc's democratic criteria.

But, so far, EU member states and the European Commission have held back on criticism of Turkey.

They do not want to provoke a change of an agreement struck last year, whereby Turkey effectively stopped migrants reaching Greece, easing the migration crisis that had threatened EU unity.

The layoffs and arrests without a legal basis show that the leadership in Ankara "is apparently not willing to revise its course, which brings it farther and farther away from Europe," Hahn said.

The commissioner was backed by Luxembourg's foreign minister, Jean Asselborn, who told the German daily that "Erdogan knows no limits, he wants to provoke the abortions of the accession negotiations".

"We should keep a cool head and not fall for it," Asselborn added, saying that there was still hope that Turkish democracy could be saved.

Turkey applied to join what was then the European Economic Community in 1987, and was declared eligible to join the EU ten years later, but there has been little progress in reality on Turkey's membership bid since negotiations were formally launched 12 years ago.

'I thought I was safe in Europe'

Arrest of Turkish dissident has again highlighted the way rogue regimes use Interpol to hunt their enemies inside the EU.

EU and Turkey fail to defuse tensions

A "high level political dialogue" ended with tense exchanges at a press conference over the human rights situation in Turkey.

Turkey accuses Merkel of racism

Turkish foreign minister said German chancellor's call to end EU accession talks was "same rhetoric as racist parties".

Police ordered to end far-right 'Nat-Con' Brussels conference

The controversial far-right "National Conservatism" conference taking place in Brussels was ordered to halt at the behest of the local neighbourhood mayor — in what critics described as a publicity victory for the populist right.

Column

What do we actually mean by EU 'competitiveness'?

Enrico Letta and Mario Draghi are coming up with reports on the EU's single market and competitiveness — but although 'competitiveness' has become a buzzword, there's no consensus on a definition for what it actually means.

Latest News

  1. EU leaders mull ways to arrest bloc's economic decline
  2. Police ordered to end far-right 'Nat-Con' Brussels conference
  3. How Hungary's teachers are taking on Viktor Orban
  4. What do we actually mean by EU 'competitiveness'?
  5. New EU envoy Markus Pieper quits before taking up post
  6. EU puts Sudan war and famine-risk back in spotlight
  7. EU to blacklist Israeli settlers, after new sanctions on Hamas
  8. Private fears of fairtrade activist for EU election campaign

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersJoin the Nordic Food Systems Takeover at COP28
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersHow women and men are affected differently by climate policy
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersArtist Jessie Kleemann at Nordic pavilion during UN climate summit COP28
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersCOP28: Gathering Nordic and global experts to put food and health on the agenda
  5. Friedrich Naumann FoundationPoems of Liberty – Call for Submission “Human Rights in Inhume War”: 250€ honorary fee for selected poems
  6. World BankWorld Bank report: How to create a future where the rewards of technology benefit all levels of society?

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Georgia Ministry of Foreign AffairsThis autumn Europalia arts festival is all about GEORGIA!
  2. UNOPSFostering health system resilience in fragile and conflict-affected countries
  3. European Citizen's InitiativeThe European Commission launches the ‘ImagineEU’ competition for secondary school students in the EU.
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersThe Nordic Region is stepping up its efforts to reduce food waste
  5. UNOPSUNOPS begins works under EU-funded project to repair schools in Ukraine
  6. Georgia Ministry of Foreign AffairsGeorgia effectively prevents sanctions evasion against Russia – confirm EU, UK, USA

Join EUobserver

EU news that matters

Join us