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EU-Turkey: What’s on the agenda as EU chiefs visit Ankara on April 6?

It has now been 22 years since Turkey turned a candidate nation for membership of the European Union.

It has been a rocky, and within the rupture fruitless, highway. In 2018, negotiations had been frozen over what the EU referred to as Turkey’s backsliding in regards to democracy, the rule of thumb of law, and most most essential rights below President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

In actuality, negotiations had been frozen since far earlier. The EU needs Ankara to settle for the reunification of the divided island of Cyprus. Turkey has refused to consider anything but a two-mutter solution for the island.

Even if Cyprus weren’t a red line for a spread of European states, including Italy and France – now to not mention Greece – there are a vary of assorted apparently intractable components between Turkey and the European Union, most not too lengthy ago over refugees.

Taking half in hardball

Turkey is dwelling to four million Syrian refugees and quite rather a lot of extra from in other areas that want to attain Europe through its maritime border with Greece and Bulgaria. In 2016, the EU agreed to pay Turkey €6 billion to forestall Syrian refugees from crossing to Greece from Turkey.

Five years later, that money has jog out and yet thousands and thousands of refugees unexcited reside in Turkey and wish to negative to Europe. Recurrently when the EU has a falling out with Ankara – a weekly occurrence, it appears to be not too lengthy ago – Erdogan threatens to end combating refugees heading to Europe.

The Turkish president has proved repeatedly that he is willing to play hardball over the concern, even publicly encouraging migrants and refugees to envision out to access the EU through Greece.

Final 300 and sixty five days, Ankara livid Cyprus over offshore drilling in its waters, prompting fears of a navy war of words between the feeble enemies, Turkey and Greece.

At times, Erdogan has looked as if it would possibly well per chance well were merely trolling Europe with his policy shifts and proclamations. On 19 March, the EU heralded a productive video conference between Erdogan, European Rate President Ursula von der Leyen, and Council president Charles Michel.

In a press release, the EU facet underlined the importance of sustained de-escalation and of additional strengthening confidence building to permit for a extra definite EU-Turkey agenda.

Elegant two days later, Erdogan announced that he modified into as soon as pulling Turkey out of the Istanbul Convention on domestic abuse by presidential decree, prompting an offended assertion from EU international policy chief, Josep Borrell, who acknowledged Ankara modified into as soon as “sending a harmful message”.

“We can not but regret deeply and divulge incomprehension in direction of the chance of the Turkish government to withdraw from this convention that even bears the title of Istanbul,” he acknowledged.

But hasn’t simplest been Turkey’s actions which bear slowed its European route.

Hostility to expansion

The EU has in truth cooled on the concern of expansion, dragging its toes over everything from Romania being incorporated into Schengen to Montenegro joining the bloc. If a little, favorable-Western mutter esteem Montenegro, inhabitants 660,000, can’t join Europe, what hope for a nation of 82 million?

As such, Turkey’s EU membership is unlikely to be on the agenda within the center of Von der Leyen and Michel’s race on April 6.

The EU needs a brand original deal on refugees to forestall a repeat of the 2015 migrant disaster, and heaps extra and a range of the controversy is commonly over how extra special that goes to designate them.

Turkey is moreover a companion in ending the conflicts in Syria and Libya, in both of which it has been accused of having favourites, if not order proxies. With Cyprus, negotiations which would possibly well per chance well be due to the originate again in March between the Turkish and Greek Cypriot governments – with the EU as an observer – and guaranteeing that Ankara doesn’t scupper them would possibly well per chance well very smartly be on Europe’s agenda.

As for the rule of thumb of law, Erdogan has shown no willingness to slack the tide of authoritarianism in Turkey, which critics verbalize has been the hallmark of his 18 years in energy. In February, Ankara launched a violent crackdown on scholar demonstrators despite threats of EU and US censure, while correct a day earlier than the summit, 10 retired admirals had been arrested over criticism of the government.

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