Turkey’s European Union accession prospect is not only frozen but “deep in the freezer” said German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock, due to the country’s glaring deficits in crucial areas such as the rule of law and human rights protection, she explained.
In a recent EU meeting held on Thursday in Brussels, Minister Baerbock expressed her concerns about Turkey’s prospects of joining the EU, while advocating for a renewed dialogue on relations with the country, particularly in light of its recent elections in May. She underscored the need to reassess the EU’s strategy towards Turkey, a nation she acknowledged as a “strategically important player in our immediate neighbourhood”.
Baerbock was candid in her remarks, stating that the EU is not naïve and will not be handing out gifts during these difficult times. She asserted that the EU accession prospect, fervently sought by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, is “deep in the freezer”.
Echoing Baerbock’s sentiments, the European Parliament Turkey Rapporteur Nacho Sanchez Amor highlighted the uphill battle Turkey faces in getting closer to the EU under the current system, in an interview with Gerçek Gündem’s Melis Gülbaş on Sunday. He added that the fate of their relations is in Erdoğan’s hands, with Turkey moving away from the EU day-by-day due to the policies and regulations they have implemented.
Amor was explicit about his expectations from Turkey, stating, “The rulings of the European Court of Human Rights on the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) must be respected, journalists must be released, and the labelling of more than half of the country as terrorists must be abandoned. We need to see a sincere will to get the accession process back on track. We are waiting for signals that we do not just want papers, reforms or action plans. I repeat what I have said from the very beginning, the only documents I read are court judgements. I only look at court judgements.”
Amor also emphasised the need for Turkey to regain the EU’s trust. “Unfortunately, in the current political system in Turkey, it depends on a single room in the palace. If President Erdoğan sincerely wants to return to a more normal stance regarding the evaluation process, this can be done within a week. But only if he is sincere,” he said.
At the EU foreign ministers’ meeting in Brussels, the future of relations with Turkey was discussed. Luxembourg’s Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn had closed the door, saying that “EU membership cannot move an inch forward while human rights defenders are languishing in prisons”.