Erdogan accuses European Union of increasing separation from Turkey

Minute Mirror - Subscribe
Minute Mirror - Subscribe

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has expressed concerns about what he sees as the European Union’s distancing from Turkey. The strained relationship between Turkey and the EU has been evident, particularly in stalled membership talks, attributed to criticisms of Turkey’s approach to addressing democratic and rule of law issues.

Erdogan recently achieved a commitment from Brussels to revive the long-standing membership negotiations that originally commenced in 2005. This agreement came in exchange for Turkey’s support for Sweden’s NATO aspirations, which emerged amid heightened concerns following Russia’s actions in Ukraine.

EU enlargement commissioner Oliver Varhelyi visited Turkey earlier this month, emphasizing the significant potential of Turkish membership. However, he stressed that substantial progress on human rights issues must occur before negotiations can recommence.

In response to these developments, President Erdogan stated at Istanbul’s Ataturk airport before heading to the UN General Assembly in New York that the EU appears to be distancing itself from Turkey. He indicated that Turkey will conduct a thorough assessment of the situation and may consider alternative directions.

Erdogan has prioritized restoring relationships with Western allies, particularly after his challenging election victory in May. His election followed years of tension, sparked by a wide-scale crackdown initiated by his government in the aftermath of a failed coup in July 2016, which led to accusations of human rights violations.

During Varhelyi’s visit, he highlighted that specific criteria established by the European Council must be addressed. These criteria primarily pertain to democracy, the rule of law, and the implementation of a credible roadmap for advancing reforms. The future direction of EU-Turkey relations remains uncertain, with potential implications for both sides.

Shaheer Gul Khan is a final-year student of English Literature at Government College University (GCU) Lahore. Strives to create a challenging and engaging environment having editor skills in freelancing, a goal-oriented. He can be reached at Twitter @HafizShaheerGu1.