According to Ayhan Zeytinolu, chairperson of the Economic Development Foundation (IKV), Turkey’s EU membership remains crucial.
“It will not be in Turkey’s interest to start on a path of uncertainty by Shelving its candidacy, which has been one of Turkey’s most significant gains in terms of its international position,” Zeytinolu remarked.
According to Zeytinolu, who was quoted by the IKV in a statement, both the halting of changes within the EU and groups within the bloc preventing Turkey’s entrance might produce exhaustion and lead to calls to abandon the EU aim.
He further stated that the parameters that Turkey must satisfy are the same standards that our country has set as its objectives. Being a contemporary society and state requires the rule of law, democracy, and respect for human rights.
According to Zeytinolu, the EU group of countries is advantageous to Turkey’s geography, economy, politics, and culture, and that Turkey continuing on its EU route is compatible with its socio-economic growth goals. Despite the fact that the EU has occasionally embraced tactics that call into question its own ideals, its core ideas and ambitions overlap with universal values.
He noted that programmes such as the EU’s green pact, which give the bloc new meaning in the current period, are also in Turkey’s interest, making compatibility even more important.
It is not the moment to redefine our relations with the EU, which is attempting to overcome the crisis and is undergoing a fundamental transition,” he added, suggesting that it would be wiser to observe the EU’s development and then redefine relations if necessary. According to him what matters is that Turkey strengthens its democracy and economy while speeding up reforms in order to be in a position to join the EU when conditions allow.
He emphasized that Turkey has a place in the EU, saying that “without Turkey, the EU would be incomplete”.
Turkey has the oldest relationship with the union, as well as the longest negotiation period. In 1964, the country signed an association agreement with the EU’s predecessor, the European Economic Community (EEC), which is typically considered the first step toward ultimate candidate status.
Turkey applied for official candidacy in 1987 but did not receive candidate country status until 1999. Turkey, on the other hand, had to wait another six years, until 2005, to begin discussions, a procedure that was unusually long in comparison to other applicants.
Tensions in the Eastern Mediterranean, Turkey’s role in Syria, the migrant crisis, and the deadlock in Turkey’s EU membership process are among the problems that divide Turkey and the EU.
The EU and Turkey established an agreement in March 2016 to stem illegal migration over the Aegean Sea and to improve the living circumstances of over 3 million Syrian refugees in Turkey. The agreement has succeeded in halting the flow of migrants and refugees, but Turkish officials have slammed the EU’s refusal to accept refugees from Turkey and bureaucratic delays in distributing promised cash for refugees.
Ankara criticized the EU for failing to meet its commitment to fund migrants and refugees in Turkey as part of the accord while giving billions of euros to Greece. After five years, the partnership is collapsing as Turkey struggles to cope with rising migrant numbers and the EU is more split than ever over its refugee policy.
According to Turkey’s migration authority, the country is home to 6 million migrants, with over 4 million from Syria. That’s 2 million more than in 2016, and it’s a significant strain for a country that had only 60,000 asylum seekers in 2011 before the civil war in Syria erupted.