“Today nobody wants it anymore”
EPP chief calls for Turkey to join the EU
5/29/2023 5:24 am
Turkey’s accession to the EU has not come any closer with President Erdogan’s election victory. EPP boss Weber even advocates ending the negotiations altogether. Instead of a full membership, one should think about a good partnership, says the CSU politician.
Following the victory of incumbent Recep Tayyip Erdogan in the Turkish presidential election, the leader of the European People’s Party (EPP), Manfred Weber, spoke out in favor of ending the EU accession process with Turkey. “The last few years have shown that a close partnership is important, but nobody wants full membership of Turkey in the EU anymore – neither Turkey nor the EU,” the CSU politician told the newspapers of the Funke media group.
“We have to put this process aside because it blocks better relationships more than it supports them,” Weber said. Rather, the “right time has come for a general restart between the EU and Turkey on a realistic basis”. The accession negotiations were formally started in 2005, but have been on hold for several years.
The EU is open to “further partnership-based cooperation between immediate neighbors who have many common challenges,” said Weber. But the expectations are clear: Erdogan must bring the country together and modernize it, Weber demanded. Especially when it comes to the goal of peace between Ukraine and Russia, migration policy or the Cyprus question, “we need cooperation,” emphasized the EPP chairman. Specifically, Weber demanded that Erdogan should “immediately agree to Sweden’s membership in NATO.”
Congratulations from Brussels and from Stoltenberg
NATO and the European Union congratulated Erdogan on his election victory. “Congratulations on your re-election, President,” NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said on Twitter. He looks forward to continuing cooperation and preparing for the NATO summit in Vilnius in July, Stoltenberg added. Turkey and Hungary are blocking Sweden’s accession to NATO. The issue is on the agenda for the summit.
EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and EU Council President Charles Michel also congratulated Erdogan on the election victory and said they were looking forward to further developing relations between the EU and Turkey. It is of “strategic importance for both the EU and Turkey to work on expanding this relationship for the benefit of our people,” added von der Leyen. Relations between Ankara and Brussels are difficult, but Turkey is an indispensable partner when it comes to migration.
In a letter to Erdogan, EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said the EU was ready to work with Turkey towards a constructive relationship “for our common prosperity and stability, based on commitments to human rights, the rule of law, international law and of regional stability, in the interest of all our citizens”.