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The EU enlargement and Turkey
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Question from Onur in Turkey: “Hello my name is Onur. With the economic crisis the process of EU enlargement has slowed. Will the EU continue to accept new members in the future? What consequences could this have for Turkey?”

Answer by Professor Dr. Beril Dedeoğlu, teacher and researcher in the Department of International Relations at the University of Galatasaray:

“I think that the process of EU enlargement has slowed down. I mean we cannot say the last major enlargement has been completely assimilated. Besides that, there is the economic crisis. That is why for the last two to three years no one has really been talking about enlargement.

“But the EU is faced with a problem: if it does not expand, especially with a candidate like Turkey, it does not know what to do and or how to reconsider its relationship with the latter. I mean, the EU does not want to lose Turkey, but does not accept it either.

“In response, the Nordic EU members and especially Britain are trying to propose a roadmap for candidature by stages. It would mean the EU and Turkey sitting down together to readjust the conditions and the application process, creating a new path. This idea is not a formula to prevent the accession of Turkey.

“It is not like Nicolas Sarkozy’s idea, which is exclusive cooperation. Instead this model is to be beneficial for both sides. That is to say that Turkey becomes a member only for those community benefits which she accepts. And is represented in the institutions involved in those community benefits in question.

“So Turkey would become a member slowly. And if it did not accede to certain benefits it should not be forced. So we want to go towards a Union with a new membership model which is more flexible. And this could be a solution for the EU today.

“But especially Germany – which will not get back as much as it contributes – I don’t think it is moving in this direction. I don’t think Germany is very positive about this model. France and Germany consider that the process of Turkey’s accession will be long enough.

“But if the given time exceeds 2023, we will face the problem of loss of the candidate, as the UK says.”

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