EU no longer wants to work together with Turkey?

Mikhail Simonov, exclusively for Vestnik Kavkaza
EU no longer wants to work together with Turkey?

The European Commission (EC) believes that Turkey, which is considered or is a candidate for EU membership, has moved further away from the integration, which also moving further away "from main principles" of the EU, annual report of the EC, published on Wednesday and dedicated to issues of expansion and state of negotiations with candidate countries, said.

The European side says that negotiations are at a dead end, and it's unclear how to get out of it - sides have very different approaches to topical issues. "Turkey is a key partner of the European Union and a candidate country. Dialogue and cooperation, including at the highest level and in key areas of mutual interest, still continues, including through effective cooperation in the field of migration," authors of the report said, noting that Turkey has moved further away from principles of the rule of law, human rights, democratic standards in general, weakening government system after adopting constitutional amendments. Negotiations on Turkey’s accession to the EU are at a dead lock, and no further measures can be taked right now, the report says.

Overall, the EU seems to have decided to just go with long discussed position on Turkey. It's no secret that the idea of accepting Turkey into the European community was initially seen as contradictory, and there was never a consensus on this issue. Opponents of this idea argued that it would be a mistake, saying that Turkey wasn't a part of Europe, that even Istanbul is divided into European and Asian parts by a bridge. They also spoke about difference between cultures and mentalities. I believe that Europeans were frightened not by this, but by the growing power of Turkish economy. Population of Turkey is approaching 100 million, and independence of Turkish leaders when it comes to decision making, which amek Turkey's status on the modern political map improve, also scares them. In addition, traditional "long-playing" internal problems of Turkey, such as Kurdish issue and some others, could add heavy burden to the problems that the EU is already experiencing.

On the other hand, Turkey, with its rapidly growing market, transit capabilities and underdeveloped eastern regions is a very tempting piece of land for Europe. That's why Europe just can't make its mind up. In the first half of 2000s, I happened to meet one of the bosses of the largest Turkish newspaper, Hurriet, in Istanbul. In a frank conversation, we discussed various issues, and when we talked about Turkey’s accession to the EU, he said to me: “Do you think we really need this? We needed it. We needed technologies. We needed modern knowledge. We needed modern models of business. All of this could be learned from the US. But then we were threatened with strong and long-lasting dependence on this state - American won't just leave the place he came to. That's why we made choice in favor of a more "civilized" Europe. We were fooled - today they are accepting us into the EU, tomorrow they are not, today there are certain conditions, tomorrow they may change. Today our position is as follows - you don't want to see Turkey in the European Union? That's fine. Just tell us about it, and we will draw appropriate conclusions. There's no need to try and come up with some strange reasons. Today we no longer have a need for integration with the EU. We already have what we needed. The state is developing, the standard of living is improving, whereas it's difficult to say the same about Europe. And tomorrow Europe may need us. But conversation will be completely different, from different standpoint and for different purpose compared to today's dialogue. Today's Turkey is a self-sufficient country."

10 years have passed since this conversation. During this time, a lot of things have happened. Some problems were resolved, some were not, and others became even more complicated. Turkey has become even stronger and more independent, reaffirming relevance of Friedrich Nietzsche’s aphoristic expression: "What does not kill us makes us stronger." Can you say the same thing about Europe? Certainly not today.