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'After the migration crisis and chaos in the Middle East: What does the future hold for Turkey in the European Union?’

21. Yüzyıl Türkiye Enstitüsü tarafından yazıldı.

Incek Debates


'After the migration crisis and chaos in the Middle East: What does the future hold for Turkey in the European Union?’

Thursday, 8 December 2016, 14:00-16:30

‘Let’s talk about foreign policy’




'After the migration crisis and chaos in the Middle East: what does the future hold for Turkey in the European Union?’

Thursday, 8 December 2016, 14:00-16:30


- Amb Hasan Kemal Gur (Ret’d)

- RADM Deniz Kutluk (Ret’d)

- Assoc Prof Muge Kinacioglu, Director, Center for Research on EU Studies, Hacettepe University, Ankara

21st Century Turkey Institute

Ahlatlibel Mah. 1830. Sokak No. 39 06805

Incek/Cankaya Ankara Turkey


The month of November 2016 has been the worst month ever in Turkey-EU relations since 1997, when EU rejected Turkey’s application to become a candidate country and roundly stated that Turkey would never be permitted to join Europe as a full member.

The European Commission, on November 9, released 2016 Regular Progress Report for Turkey which was bluntly critical of the situation in Turkey. For the Minister of European Union (EU) and Chief Negotiator Omer Celik the report was far from being “constructive and guiding” and it was lacking “in terms of especially understanding the world and Turkey”. He was joined by the Minister of Foreign Affairs Mevlut Cavusoglu who hardly kept his temper during a joint press conference, on November 15, with the visiting German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier: “We are truly fed up with these statements degrading Turkey. The criteria are clear but there are double standards and a two-faced approach. This is what we don’t like”. Nevertheless Steinmeier was not deterred from making his point: “Turkey’s actions against opposition lawmakers and civil society, newspapers, radio and TV stations and countless teachers and bureaucrats … have long gone beyond the search for those responsible for the failed 15 July putsch” he told reporters.

EP President Martin Schultz, in an interview with Bild on November 13, said the EU “should consider what economic sanctions we (EU & member states) can take” in response to deteriorating situation in Turkey. As expected, Turkish political leaders gave angry reactions which were reflected in their selection of extraordinarily harsh words. President Tayyip Erdogan, next day, blasted Schultz over his criticism of Turkey and his suggestion that economic sanctions could be imposed on Turkey: “Who are you? President of a parliament..! What are you? Since when have you had the authority to make decisions for Turkey? Look at this impudent man, saying ‘we will impose sanctions’.. How dare you, who have refused to take Turkey into EU for fifty-three years, find the authority to make such a decision?”

The European Parliament on 16 November cancelled a high-level visit to Turkey by Elmar Brok, Chairman of the European Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee, after the Turkish Government refused to see one of the MEPs—rapporteur Kati Piri—reportedly because of her criticism of Ankara.

European Parliament, on November 23, voted in favor of a non-binding motion urging the European Commission and national governments to freeze accession negotiations with Turkey, because of Turkish government’s “disproportionate repressive measures” in reaction to July 15 failed coup attempt, violating “basic rights and freedoms protected by the Turkish Constitution itself”. Some 479 votes in favour while 37 were against it with 107 abstentions, this was a solid voting. Last time a European body—Council of Europe—suspended Turkey’s membership, was in 1980, after the military take-over.

Turkish leaders, again, regarded the decision as “void”, “visionless” and “two-faced”, disclosing “double standards” on the part of the EP. However, this time the main opposition party—albeit for different reasons—was also unhappy with this decision: “The decision, within the given circumstances that Turkey is in, is not a decision to help Turkey in its democratic struggle. On the contrary, it is a decision that paves the way for the government to continue on its own path,” said Ozturk Yilmaz, deputy leader of the opposition Republican People’s Party.

With the arms embargo adopted by Austria and President Erdogan’s threat of “opening the gates” for migrants, despite conciliatory statements by various EU countries, relations have hit bottom. The EU is clearly treading a fine line: it needs Ankara’s continued cooperation in curbing the flow of refugees, fighting the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and radical movements in general, but is alarmed by the nature and scale of the crackdown—as perceived by the EU—on opponents and political opposition since the failure of the coup attempt in July. But what will happen once these crises are over—if relations survive them?

Against this background, Incek Debates, on Thursday 8 December 2016, will discuss ‘After the migration crisis and chaos in the Middle East: what does the future hold for Turkey in the European Union?’

Panelists are Amb Hasan K. Gur (Ret’d), RADM Deniz Kutluk (Ret’d) and Assoc Prof Muge Kinacioglu of Hacettepe University. The debate will be chaired by Dr Haldun Solmazturk, Director of the 21st Century Turkey Institute.

Incek Debates are held in English with a multinational audience, open to public. Widest participation is encouraged, however ADVANCE REGISTRATION—subject to availability of seats—is kindly required. Please note that, due to seating limitations, only one representative from each institute/embassy is registered.

Incek Debates
‘Let’s talk about foreign policy’

For registration:
Tel: +90 (0) 312 489 1801
     +44 (0) 7448 7777 62 (GSM)
Fax: 90 (0) 312-489 1802

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