HCSS in the media

Turkey and the EU at loggerheads

November 17th 2016 - 11:51

Following the publication of an EU report that is highly critical of how Turkey has developed politically since the attempted coup d’état last July, Ankara and Brussels appear to be heading for a collision. Based on the report, the European Parliament is now set to vote recommending that EU accession talks with Turkey be suspended. Whilst the EU reiterated its condemnation of the attempted coup, it criticizes Ankara for disproportionally cracking down on dissenting voices, and for taking very extensive measures to cleanse state institutions of alleged supporters of the Gulen movement, which the government suspects as the instigator of the coup.

In response, Turkish president Erdogan has called for a referendum to be held in Turkey on EU membership. He also denied the EU rapporteur on Turkey future access to the country. EU commissioner Frans Timmermans appeared to placate Turkey by saying he had seen information that the Gulen movement might have been involved in the coup after all, although this has not been corroborated.

Nevertheless, the tension over the last few days calls into question future cooperation with Turkey, and in particular whether the deal on the return of refugees to Turkey will hold. Willem Oosterveld spoke about this issue with Radio Romania. The interview can be read here (in Romanian). 

Photo credit: European Parliament via Foter.com / CC BY-NC-ND

Dr. Willem Theo Oosterveld is a non-resident senior fellow at HCSS. His areas of expertise include the politics of the Middle East, conflict analysis and peacebuilding, as well as law and development. He holds degrees in political science, international law, and history, having studied in Amsterdam, Leiden, Paris and New York, and was a visiting fellow at Harvard University. A former Fulbright scholar, he earned a PhD from the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva, Switzerland.