President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan this year sent a message directly to the delegation of the European Union to Turkey on the occasion of Europe Day, May 9.
In his message, Erdoğan said that Turkey has proved once again that it is strong and organized enough to help EU countries in the pandemic process, calling on the union by saying, “I hope that the EU, which has taken a discriminatory and exclusionary stance toward our country in many issues so far, has understood that we are all on the same boat.”
The president concluded his message with a wish saying, “As Turkey, we are determined to achieve full membership in the European Union, which we see as a strategic goal, despite all the difficulties we have faced in the negotiation process.”
Erdoğan is hopeful and optimistic about Turkey-EU relations. After all, without such goodwill, this issue would have been dropped a long time ago.
In fact, the double standard with which the union has treated Turkey has made even citizens like me, who have upheld the EU project for years, weary. We are not wrong at all.
Imagine, Turkey applied to the union, then called the European Economic Community, shortly after its founding, exactly 61 years ago.
In the meantime, Greece and even Greek Cyprus were included in the union in violation of the EU law, even though there was a problem with their borders. Eastern European countries, which fulfilled neither economic nor political criteria, also became EU members through negotiations which were held for some two to three months only for show.
However, Turkey, which was granted official “candidacy status” in 1999 and registered at the Brussels summit in 2004 as having “fulfilled the political criteria,” is still on hold. Even though the chapters that were opened and closed one after another and the Turkish Parliament passed almost the entire EU acquis, this was not enough to lower Brussels' guard. We have been content with the customs union for years.
The EU picture we have witnessed in the pandemic process after this historical memory is not at all heartwarming.
Many member states have been left alone by Brussels in the outbreak process, so much so that humanitarian aid was sent to Italy and Spain from Turkey, Russia and China. Many EU countries have had to leave their elderly and poor to die because of their inadequate health care systems.
There are even European countries suspending the European Convention on Human Rights.
Moreover, recently, Germany's Constitutional Court banned the sale of bonds by the country’s central bank, the Bundesbank, to EU countries. In other words, it said to the EU, “do not touch my money,” and implied that the economic partnership which is the basis of the union had disappeared.
The EU, from which the British have sneaked away without a backward glance, while Italy and Spain are seriously discussing secession, is not making a single move to show that it is taking this unravelling seriously.
The way things are going, it is likely that the EU will dissolve before Turkey gains full membership. In fact, with its dynamic and young structure, Turkey would be the fresh blood and energy that the union needs at a time when it is on the brink of collapse.
It is a shame. This great civil project was too valuable to be sacrificed to orientalist and discriminatory delusions.
Are you saying it is still not too late?