Commissioner Stefan Füle visited Ankara again, this time his visit almost coincided with the meeting of the Turkey-EU Joint Parliamentary Committee. Füle has met all the highest ranking representatives of the Turkish Republic, including President Gül, but with the notable exception of Prime Minister Erdogan, who has chosen to express his deep dissatisfaction with Commissioner Füle's recent declarations.
The revival of Turkey-EU relations has been long expected, but up until now, the long-awaited dynamism looks still far away. The opening of new chapters, especially chapters 23 and 24, pertaining to the judiciary, fundamental rights, freedom and security, is being blocked by one single country, Southern Cyprus, which is openly blackmailing everyone in order to convince Turkey to open unilaterally its ports and airports to ships and planes flying the Cypriot flag. The Turkish government in 2004 and 2005 did not really oppose such a move and a negotiation took place where a slight liberalization of the international embargo over the Northern Cypriot Turkish Republic in exchange for opening ports and airports would have been implemented. The EU has begun to alleviate the very stringent embargo measures upon Northern Cyprus, establishing an antenna of the Commission on the Turkish side, and without such steps no legal recognition would be realized. Even such small steps were too much for the Greek Cypriots who have done their utmost to sabotage every semblance of opening of the EU towards Northern Cyprus, which almost automatically brought to an end Turkish availability to open its ports and airports.
The Greek Cypriot administration could not have been that effective within the EU, given the size and capacity of its diplomatic staff, but Nicolas Sarkozy, the then newly elected French president, threw all the weight of his diplomatic capacity behind Greek Cypriots, allowing them to perform a successful undermining of Turkey-EU relations.
Sarkozy has been gone for more than two years now, his successor François Hollande honestly tried to mend the ailing Turkish-French relations and has been successful to a certain degree. But, like the monster of Frankenstein, the Greek Cypriot's undermining stance continues and nobody really knows how to overcome the inextricable situation.
On the other hand, the Greek Cypriot administration has gone bankrupt, collateral damage of the Greek financial crisis, and it became evident to everyone that Russian oligarch's money was being kept in the Greek Cypriot banking system. Together with Bulgaria, Greek Cyprus remains one of the staunchest strongholds of Putin's Russia within the EU.
This is mainly the big picture; Turkey's closest EU member neighbors are Greece, Bulgaria and Greek Cyprus. Hardly any of them could really qualify as a model democracy or a satisfactorily functioning transparent liberal economy according to the Copenhagen criteria. Nonetheless, they are members of the EU and Greek Cyprus can block the opening of chapters, while Bulgaria illegally prevents road traffic between Turkey and the EU, and everyone goes unpunished because this is how the EU system seems to work. You have to be very rule-abiding until you become a member; afterwards this might become business as usual. This situation, looking more and more surrealistic, is getting very dangerous for the future of the EU itself and definitely for the future of Turkey-EU relations.