Correspondent's Choice

This story about Turkey’s accession bid to join the EU was published by EurActiv on 8th April.

With Turkey as a member, the European Union would become “the most important peace project in world history,” Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdo?an claimed during an official visit to France yesterday (7 April). EurActiv France and EurActiv Turkey report.

Erdo?an promoted the long-standing ties between the two countries during the closing ceremony of the Turkish Season in Paris, a cultural festival which lasted nine months and saw more than 600 activities take place in 120 cities.

The Turkish prime minister cited Amin Maalouf, a Lebanese-born French writer, and said his books demonstrated how Christian and Islamic cultures, languages and destinies were nested one within the other.

However, the Turkish media focused on French President Nicolas Sarkozy’s absence from the event, which was interpreted as a demonstration that the French president does not want to pay much attention to Turkey’s EU bid, EurActiv Turkey reports.

Meanwhile, the Turkish Season in France produced little result, EurActiv France writes, with Turkey’s EU bid not on the official agenda of talks between Sarkozy and Erdo?an.

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  1. From my viewpoint it looks like EU has two strategies – outside official diplomatic statements – for future process with Turkey: Either EU is waiting that Turkey never will comply the membership criteria or it is innovating new obstacles to guarantee this. As Turkey is extremely important economical partner for EU as well rising EU’s energy hub there is a third way offered to Turkey – a “privileged partnership”. During next few years Turkey will come an energy hub through further development of Blue Stream pipeline from Russia and implementation of South Stream, possible implementation of Nabucco and planned import of gas from Iraq and Iran. So in energy game Turkey will have some aces; if not membership EU must offer very attractive “third way” solution for Turkey. A couple of weeks ago Germany was promoting again “privileged partnership” to Turkey.

    From my point of view “privileged partnership” could preindicate a possible search of “third way” between EU member- and non-membership. The model – when first created – could be copied also with some other countries which now are in enlargement process or included in Eastern Partnership program. On the bottom line “privileged partnership“ could be a pragmatic model of the future relations between Turkey and the EU, it can be better alternative for all stakeholders than full EU membership. More about issue in my article “Turkey’s EU hopes -is there any?” –

  2. A very interesting comment by Ari Rusila!
    Indeed, what about Ukraine? And who should have precedence? The oldest applicant Turkey or the less controversial Ukraine?
    Turkey realistically expects joining by 2023, on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the foundation of the modern ‘Republic of Turkey’, as a successor to the former Ottoman empire. By that time, Ukraine would be ready for accession as well, if not earlier.
    Turkey and Ukraine joining at the same time – isn’t it to bite more than the EU can chew?

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