The EU must change its Turkey policy

Published 27.06.2018 21:59

In the June 24 parliamentary and presidential elections, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was elected as the President once again, proving the electorate's trust in him, whereas the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) gained the majority of the seats in the Parliament with the People's Alliance it comprised with the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP). So, Turkey's stability has been secured until 2023. The European Union should realize this fact and respect Turkish electorate's democratic choice for the interests of both Turkey and the EU.

Apparently, the EU still tends to persist on its old Turkey policy, which is a major mistake. Changing this obsolete policy will above all favor the EU countries in many aspects including security, economy, social policies and refugee challenge.

On June 28 and 29, the EU Leaders Summit will be held in Brussels, and Austria will be the term president as of July. Before the Summit, the EU made another major mistake and decided to postpone the negotiations for the expansion of the Customs Union with Turkey. During the meeting of the EU General Affairs Council in Luxembourg on Tuesday, it was agreed that the negotiations with Turkey on the expansion of the Customs Union would not be initiated in the near future. In the same meeting, Austria's request to officially end Turkey's EU accession negotiations was fortunately not supported by the majority.

Subsequently, they announced that Turkey will continue being an important partner in many fields and stressed that they appreciate the efforts Turkey displayed with regard to hosting more than 3.5 million Syrian refugees, as if such statements could convince Turkish people to their sincerity. It was also stated that maintaining the refugee agreement is among the fundamental priorities of the EU and will favor both parties. Turkey and Turkish citizens cannot be convinced with such clichéd expressions. They are excluding Turkey while hypocritically asking for support in the refugee crisis, which wears out Turkish people's goodwill.

The EU must realize that the first solid steps in the transition to the new presidential system have been taken in Turkey, which will help the country a great deal to keep pace with the new global order. The new system will comprise 16 ministries, four offices, nine boards and eight directorates, and encompass all spheres of life including social life, diplomacy, economy and justice. Erdoğan will appoint the aides and ministers from outside the Parliament. It is estimated that prominent names from the business world, cultural life and sports will be in the Cabinet.

The offices will act as advisory bodies and directly work with the President. In the offices, which will take on critical roles in various fields including investment, finance, digital transformation and human resources; economists, sociologists, technocrats, and experts from the relevant fields will be assigned. Among the other boards, the Board of Security and Foreign Policy will develop policies that will allow Turkey a more influential position in the world.

In a nutshell, while the EU cannot take a single consistent step with regard to Turkey, Turkey maintains its progress in a determined way. The EU has to leave aside the old and clichéd expressions and issue alternative decisions so as not to lose Turkey.

The EU will either change its wrong policy on Turkey or completely lose Turkey as a partner.

The break of relations will certainly not favor anyone, but the EU will definitely be the losing party. Turkey does not want the relations to end while Turkish citizens still hope that the EU will compensate its mistakes. So, the EU must change its Turkey policy before it is too late.

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