Has Erdogan lost all hope of Turkey joining the European Union?


Due to Ankara’s failure to meet the European Union‘s conditions regarding political and economic reforms, negotiations for Turkey’s accession to the European Union seem to have reached an impasse, especially following the statements of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, in which he affirmed that his country no longer “expects anything” from the European Union after waiting at its doorstep for nearly 40 years.

Erdogan stated during his speech at the opening of the new session of the Turkish parliament: “Ankara no longer expects anything from the European Union, for we have been waiting at its doorstep for 40 years.” He added, “We have fulfilled all the promises we made to the European Union, but they have hardly fulfilled any of their promises.”

He emphasized that Ankara “will not accept new requirements or conditions on the path to membership” in the bloc, noting that “if the European Union intends to put an end to Turkey’s membership process, which exists only on paper, that is their prerogative.”

Turkey has been an official candidate for European Union membership for 24 years, but accession talks have stalled since 2016 due to concerns about human rights violations and the rule of law.

Relations between Brussels and Ankara have been strained, especially after the failed coup attempt in Turkey in July 2016 and the subsequent crackdown on opposition figures and journalists.

Analysts suggest that there is currently no real discussion or clear direction within the European Union regarding accepting Turkey‘s membership, as the Union is convinced that there are very few indications that Turkey is taking serious steps to obtain membership.

Turkey must convince the European Union that it is committed to implementing political and economic reforms, and only then will the European Union be under pressure to fulfill its previous commitments to accept Turkey’s membership. However, at present, it does not seem that such pressures exist.

Erdogan’s statements come days after the European Court of Human Rights condemned Turkey for considering a teacher’s use of an encrypted messaging app linked to alleged coup plotters in the failed coup in 2016 as sufficient evidence to sentence him to imprisonment.

The decision, which concluded that the teacher’s rights were violated, could set an important precedent for thousands of similar cases pending before the court in Strasbourg.

Ankara accuses the Fethullah Gülen movement of orchestrating the attempt to overthrow Erdogan and claims that the ByLock messaging app was used to coordinate the plot.

Thousands of people were arrested following the coup attempt, and convictions were issued against them on charges related to the group, with the movement’s leader, Fethullah Gülen, who resides in the United States, denying any involvement in it.

Erdogan considered the European Court’s decision as “the last straw” and emphasized that “members of the terrorist organization and their supporters who were encouraged by this decision should not daydream, and this decision will not bring any relief to the villains who are members of the Gulenist group.”

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