Turkey and the European Union
Turkey and the European Union
The ties between Turkey and the European Union date back to the 1960s, shortly after the creation of the European Economic Community (Eec). As early as 1963, Turkey signed an association agreement with the EEC for the gradual establishment of a customs union, which was established in 1995. However, during the 1980s relations cooled down due to the September coup d’état. 1980 and the continuation of the territorial dispute with the Republic of Cyprus. Later, in 1987, Turkey applied to join the EEC but the accession process proved to be rather slow. Only since 1999 has the country had the status of candidate and, between 1999 and 2004, Turkey carried out important reforms to achieve the Copenhagen criteria (the necessary requirements for admission), aiming in particular to ensure the stability of institutions, the rule of law, respect for human rights and minorities. In 2005, accession negotiations were launched which deal with the aspects of Community legislation with which Turkey must align. Negotiations, however, remain partially blocked due to Turkey’s failure to implement the Ankara Protocol, under which Turkey should guarantee access to products from the Republic of Cyprus. In addition, they are also partially blocked by France, Austria, Germany and Cyprus. Effectively, Germany and France are opposed to the accession of a country that should over time become the most populous in Europe, and therefore could have more political weight than them. On the other hand, Italy, Spain, the United Kingdom and Sweden remain traditional and main supporters of the enlargement to include Turkey. Widespread reservations that Turkey’s entry intoThe EU still meets among its members, however, are evident from the fact that, of the 35 chapters that make up the accession negotiation, only 13 have actually been opened and only one (on science and research) already closed. In general, Turkey’s approach to the Union therefore seems to be paying for a ‘double fatigue’, the result, on the one hand, of internal difficulties within the EUin facing a new enlargement after those of 2004 and 2009 (which welcomed 12 members) and, on the other, a process of reforms within Turkey, which slows down in proportion to the difficulties of the dialogue with Brussels. In 2014, to weigh on the difficulties of relations between Brussels and Ankara, there were also accusations by Europe of not respecting the most basic political and civil rights, following the arrest of several Turkish journalists. Leaving aside the dialogue on integration, the migration crisis of 2015 saw Turkey become a key interlocutor for the European Union as the main transit country for many migrants headed to Europe. In October, German Chancellor Angela Merkel proposed an agreement in Ankara to contain the migratory flow towards the European continent, offering generous financial aid. The agreement, which provides for aid of 3 billion euros, was signed in November 2015 but European hypocrisy was criticized for having suddenly put aside civil rights issues. For Turkey political system, please check politicsezine.com.
Turkey and the ‘Sèvres syndrome’
On 10 August 1920, in the French town of Sèvres, the Ottoman Empire signed the peace treaty that defined the terms of the agreement between it and the victorious powers of the First World War – France, Italy and the United Kingdom (at the signing it took part also Japan). With the Treaty of Sèvres the new borders of Turkey were therefore defined after the fall of the Ottoman Empire. The decisions taken in this area were very unfavorable to the country, which saw itself deprived of all eastern territories and of control over the Straits. In particular, the Armenian-majority territories of eastern Anatolia were assigned to Armenia. In addition, the creation of an independent Kurdistan was envisaged, which would also include the current southeastern region of Turkey. Italy, Greece and France would also have benefited from zones of influence both on the south-western coasts of the country and in the south, on the borders with Syria. The territory of Turkey was thus reduced to the Anatolian peninsula alone. The decisions taken in Sèvres – which would have been overcome only thanks to the war of independence led by Mustafa Kemāl – would have left in the new Turkish ruling class the grudge for the attempt to dismember the country, carried out by the European powers with the support of the communities to them similar present on the national territory. We therefore commonly speak of ‘Sèvres syndrome’ to refer to the latent feeling of encirclement that characterizes the Turkish conception of national security.