By Gareth H. Jenkins (vol. 4, no.1 of the Turkey Analyst)
On December 31, 2010, Belgium’s six month presidency of the EU closed without any chapters in Turkey’s membership negotiations being opened. It was the first time an EU presidency had been concluded without the opening of any chapters since Turkey’s accession process was launched in October 2005. Although at least one chapter is expected to be opened during the first half of 2011, it is becoming increasingly difficult to sustain the impression that the accession process is still alive, much less that there is any realistic prospect of Turkey joining the EU in the foreseeable future.
By Gareth Jenkins (vol. 2, no. 15 of the Turkey Analyst)
It is nearly five years since Turkey’s ruling party passed a substantive package of reforms to comply with EU norms. The few reforms demanded by the EU which have been passed in recent years appear to be more the product of a convergence with the AKP’s perceptions of its own interests than a response to the requirements of the accession process. As Turkish officials try to come up with a formula to avoid a “train crash” in December 2009, their main concern is no longer to move the accession process forward; it is simply to keep it alive.
By M. K. Kaya (vol. 2, no. 2 of the Turkey Analyst)
The appointment of Egemen Bagis as new chief negotiator and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s visit to the EU Commission in Brussels on 18–20 January signals the start of a new era in Turkey-EU relations. Although they are important, these steps taken by Ankara will evidently not be enough. The future of Turkey’s EU accession process depends on political developments in Turkey as well as in Europe. But there can be no doubt that the EU membership process remains a crucial political asset for the governing AKP.
By the Editors (vol. 1, no. 4 of the Turkey Analyst)
In December 2006, citing Turkey’s refusal to extend its customs union to Cyprus, EU Foreign Ministers suspended talks on eight of the thirty-five negotiation chapters in Turkey’s accession negotiations. But the importance of Cyprus has been overblown: Cyprus was only the superficial reason for the ‘slowdown’ decision. Both parties to the accession talks in fact needed to gain time and tend to internal matters. What does the current Turkish turmoil imply for the Cyprus issue and the broader future of Turkey’s EU accession negotiations?
By Hendrik Müller (vol. 7, no. 6 of the Turkey Analyst)
Turkey recently promulgated a new Internet bill and swiftly used it to block access to the micro-blogging platform Twitter, and subsequently Youtube. In line with a longer history of fundamental rights violations, this step marks another chapter in Turkey’s recent path towards absolute censorship. In light of international and regional commitments, however, Turkey is increasingly at odds and may even risk forsaking its EU membership candidacy.
The Turkey Analyst is a publication of the Central Asia-Caucasus Institute & Silk Road Studies Joint Center, designed to bring authoritative analysis and news on the rapidly developing domestic and foreign policy issues in Turkey. It includes topical analysis, as well as a summary of the Turkish media debate.