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What now for Turkey-EU relations?

brussels bureau

What now for Turkey-EU relations?


euronews asked a specialist in Europe-Turkey relations, Can Baydarol, for his reaction to the new European Commission.

euronews: “Mister Baydarol, how is the new Commission going to influence the process of Turkey’s EU adhesion negotiations?”

Can Baydarol: “We have a reinforced Commission with the Lisbon Treaty. It has become almost a government of the Union. That Barroso is still heading the Commission, an English person is in charge of external policy and that the Commissioner in charge of enlargement is Stefan Fule gives very optimistic messages concerning Turkey. It gives Turks positive food for thought. But we know that in spite of everything, the Commission doesn’t have a determining role in this game. What will play an influential role in the negotiations, rather, will be political questions that will emerge in the coming days. I don’t believe we have grounds to be concerned on a technical level but the new Commission would have an important, notable role to play in getting past political blockages. That’s the way we see it in Turkey.”

euronews: “How do you think the new commission will manage its relations with leaders like Merkel and Sarkozy, who don’t look enthusiastically on Turkey in the European Union?”

Baydarol: “Effectively, the Commission has a role to play in this domain. Remember, the last enlargement commissioner Olli Rehn underlined Turkey’s strategic importance in the report on the negotiations with the Commission. It was the first time that this point had been brought forward by the Commission. It is important that the new Commission can be able to pursue this discussion with Merkel and Sarkozy. We’ve come to a point, notably after the opening of the chapter on the environment, where we’re heading for a dead end on a technical level. Since there are ambiguities around Turkey’s adhesion date, the question is: how to negotiate in this period of uncertainty? WE’re heading for a stalemate. Sarkozy and Merkel use pretexts like the Cyprus question and Turkey’s relations with its neighbours to block the negotiations. The members of the Commission are going to have to work on this. We will be witness to a confrontation between the Commission and the Member States.”

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