The Council of Europe was the first attempt to come up with a joint organization for Europe and it celebrated its 70th anniversary on Sunday. However, Ankara, one of the founding members of the council, continues to be stalled in the EU accession process.
Following World War II, in 1949, a council of 10 European nations was established to foster joint intuitions and principles for the people of the EU and to prevent regional conflicts. Just three months after its establishment, Turkey was invited to be a founding member with Greece and Iceland.
A peak in relations was experienced in the 2000s with the election of Yavuz Milton, a politician of the Justice and Development Party (AK Party), the former president of the Congress of the Council of Europe.
Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuloğlu also became the first Turkish politician serving as the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly president in 2010-2012.
Despite a recent improvement in ties, EU members have been dragging their feet on the EU accession process by noting that negotiations have come to a de facto standstill and pointing out their concerns over claims of massive regression in terms of the rule of law, citizens' rights and freedom of the press in Turkey.
Turkey's journey to become a member of the EU has seen numerous ups and downs for 50 years, longer than any other country that has applied for membership in the union. Although EU membership remains a top strategic goal for Turkey, which started in 1963 with the Ankara agreement, the EU keeps dragging its feet on the process. Ankara has also been calling for the EU to conclude the process, whichever way it may go, instead of stalling.
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