Implications for Turkey: a full-fledged accession strategy needed

In Turkey, the Lis­bon Treaty was regard­ed as a nec­es­sary step for an EU that is less intro­spec­tive and more open to chal­lenges which may arise from enlarge­ment.11The Jour­nal of Turk­ish Week­ly: The Fail­ure of the Lis­bon Treaty? Con­se­quences for Turkey’s Acces­sion Process, 28 June 2008, avail­able at: http://www.turkishweekly.net/print.asp?type=3&id=2381 (last access: 26 April 2010). It was argued that the treaty would bring the EU clos­er to a polit­i­cal uni­ty, which would be in the inter­est of each and every can­di­date coun­try, with the warn­ing that Turkey now needs a full-fledged acces­sion strat­e­gy, as the polit­i­cal iden­ti­ty of the Union is get­ting stronger.22Bahadır Kaleağası (Coor­di­na­tor of the Turk­ish Indus­tri­al­ists’ and Businessmen’s Asso­ci­a­tion (TUSIAD) quot­ed in Hür­riyet Dai­ly News, 19 Novem­ber 2009.

How­ev­er, it is hard to say that the impli­ca­tions of the treaty for Turkey received sig­nif­i­cant atten­tion in the press or in the pub­lic debate. Fac­tors lead­ing to this lack of atten­tion were list­ed as the fail­ure of the for­mer Con­sti­tu­tion­al Treaty and the per­cep­tion that the Lis­bon Treaty is a watered-down ver­sion of it; changes in Turk­ish for­eign pol­i­cy, which shift­ed Turkey’s atten­tion else­where, main­ly to the Mid­dle East and Asia; the frus­tra­tion and dis­ap­point­ment with the EU, as well as a gen­er­al feel­ing of aloof­ness from the EU and Europe result­ing from the prob­lems in the Turk­ish acces­sion process to the EU.33IKV’s Nas: EU Future with Lis­bon Treaty Should Con­cern Turkey, Inter­view with Çiğ­dem Nas by Yasemin Poyraz Doğan, Today’s Zaman, 21 Decem­ber 2009, avail­able at: http://www.todayszaman.com/tz-web/news-196138–8‑ikvs-nas-eus-future-with-lisbon-treaty-should-concern-turkey.html (last access: 17 May 2010). Analy­ses of the results of the Lis­bon Treaty and their impli­ca­tions for Turkey came from research insti­tutes and think tanks, most­ly focus­ing on future enlarge­ment. In an excep­tion by the Turk­ish parliament’s exter­nal rela­tions and pro­to­col administration’s brief­ing report, the treaty was seen as nec­es­sary for the Union to adjust its insti­tu­tion­al struc­ture for new enlarge­ments, while atten­tion was also drawn to the sys­tem of enhanced coop­er­a­tion as a poten­tial tool in the hands of those who argue in favour of a priv­i­leged part­ner­ship with Turkey instead of full Turk­ish mem­ber­ship to the EU.44Sum­ru Bil­cen: AB’de Onem­li Bir Adim: Lis­bon Ant­las­masi, TBMM Dış İlişk­il­er ve Pro­tokol Müdür­lüğü, 24 April 2010. For instance, a report by the Eco­nom­ic Pol­i­cy Research Foun­da­tion of Turkey (TEPAV) argued that the dou­ble major­i­ty vot­ing sys­tem brought about by the treaty could alle­vi­ate some of the con­cerns regard­ing Turkey’s “poten­tial weight” in the Coun­cil. In addi­tion, increas­ing involve­ment of nation­al par­lia­ments in the EU’s deci­sion-mak­ing received a pos­i­tive note in the report, as this would work towards calm­ing down a seg­ment of Turk­ish soci­ety which asso­ciates EU mem­ber­ship with loss of sov­er­eign­ty,55Nil­gün Arısan Eralp: Lis­bon Treaty and Turkey at a First Glance, TEPAV Eval­u­a­tion Note, Decem­ber 2009. but this was also seen as some­thing that might obstruct Turk­ish acces­sion to the EU in the afore­men­tioned brief­ing report. Anoth­er com­men­tary, how­ev­er, drew atten­tion to the poten­tial impact of the dou­ble major­i­ty vot­ing on Turk­ish acces­sion to the EU, argu­ing that the sys­tem would pre­vent the votes against Turk­ish EU mem­ber­ship of any three of the four larg­er EU mem­ber states (France, the Unit­ed King­dom, Ger­many and Italy) from pre­vail­ing.66Cuneyt Yuk­sel: Lisbon’dan Son­ra­ki Bir­lik ve Türkiye, 16 Octo­ber 2009, avail­able at: http://www.abhaber.com/ozelhaber.php?id=4457 (last access: 26 April 2010).

As for the new faces of the Union, refer­ring to the Pres­i­dent of the Euro­pean Coun­cil and the High Rep­re­sen­ta­tive of the Union for For­eign Affairs and Secu­ri­ty Pol­i­cy, the deci­sion in favour of Her­man Van Rompuy was seen as a vic­to­ry of those in the Union who argue for a priv­i­leged part­ner­ship with Turkey instead of its full mem­ber­ship to the EU. His past state­ments against Turk­ish EU mem­ber­ship, which also includ­ed the view that Turk­ish mem­ber­ship to the EU would under­mine cur­rent uni­ver­sal val­ues in Europe which are also fun­da­men­tal Chris­t­ian val­ues, received major atten­tion. His appoint­ment led to com­ments that even regard­ed this as a con­fir­ma­tion of the idea that the EU is a civil­i­sa­tion project in which Turkey’s belong­ing is ques­tioned.77Hil­mi Yavuz: Avru­pa Birli­gi Bir Medeniyet Pro­je­sidir, Zaman Online, 22 Novem­ber 2009, http://www.zaman.com.tr/yazar.do?yazino=918811 (last access: 26 April 2010). In an inter­view, the deputy sec­re­tary-gen­er­al of the Eco­nom­ic Devel­op­ment Foun­da­tion (IKV) has point­ed out that Van Rompuy’s per­son­al ideas on Turkey may make a dif­fer­ence, espe­cial­ly at crit­i­cal junc­tures when impor­tant deci­sions con­cern­ing Turkey are to be giv­en, since even his neu­tral­i­ty or abstain­ing from influ­enc­ing the Euro­pean Council’s deci­sions may be inter­pret­ed as a neg­a­tive sign.88IKV’s Nas: EU Future with Lis­bon Treaty Should Con­cern Turkey, Inter­view with Çiğ­dem Nas by Yasemin Poyraz Doğan, Today’s Zaman, 21 Decem­ber 2009, avail­able at: http://www.todayszaman.com/tz-web/news-196138–8‑ikvs-nas-eus-future-with-lisbon-treaty-should-concern-turkey.html (last access: 17 May 2010). The ideas of Van Rompuy were inter­pret­ed as “the text­book def­i­n­i­tion of anachro­nism”, which will exac­er­bate the prob­lems of Europe in the 21st Cen­tu­ry.99Mustafa Kut­lay: A New EU in the Mak­ing: Reflec­tions from Turkey, The Jour­nal of Turk­ish Week­ly, 23 Novem­ber 2009, avail­able at: http://www.turkishweekly.net/columnist/3230/a‑new-eu-in-the-making-reflections-from-turkey.html,%20last%20access%2012%20July2010 (last access: 12 July 2010). In addi­tion, Van Rompuy’s appoint­ment as Pres­i­dent of the Euro­pean Coun­cil was seen as a choice for a low-pro­file, mod­er­ate voice that would pri­ori­tise the role of a mod­er­a­tor with­in the EU instead of being the leader the EU needs in order to have a greater say in glob­al affairs.1010Hil­mi Yavuz: Avru­pa Birli­gi Bir Medeniyet Pro­je­sidir, Zaman Online, 22 Novem­ber 2009, avail­able at: http://www.zaman.com.tr/yazar.do?yazino=918811 (last access: 26 April 2010).

As for Cather­ine Ash­ton as the High Rep­re­sen­ta­tive, her state­ment before the Euro­pean Par­lia­ment before her appoint­ment received atten­tion, as she referred to Turkey as just one of the impor­tant coun­tries with which the EU has to engage in an effec­tive coop­er­a­tion.1111AP’den Cather­ine Ashton’a Onay, 12 Jan­u­ary 2010, avail­able at: http://www.euroacademic.org.tr/index.php?act=show&code=guncel&resume=0&id=506&id_page=0 (last access: 17 May 2010). On the oth­er hand, an ear­li­er analy­sis of the impli­ca­tions of the treaty for the Com­mon Secu­ri­ty and Defence Pol­i­cy of the EU drew atten­tion to the pos­si­bil­i­ty of con­flict between the High Rep­re­sen­ta­tive of the Union (due to the role with­in the Euro­pean Com­mis­sion) and the Pres­i­dent of the Euro­pean Coun­cil in terms of blurred lines of author­i­ty in rep­re­sent­ing the Union.1212Ömer Kurt­bağ: ATAUM AB Anal­iz, 26 Novem­ber 2009, avail­able at: http://www.ataum.tk (last access: 26 April 2010).

The “Pro­pos­al for a Coun­cil Deci­sion estab­lish­ing the organ­i­sa­tion and func­tion­ing of the Euro­pean Exter­nal Action Ser­vice”1313Pro­pos­al for a Coun­cil Deci­sion estab­lish­ing the organ­i­sa­tion and func­tion­ing of the Euro­pean Exter­nal Action Ser­vice, 25 March 2010, avail­able at: http://eeas.europa.eu/docs/eeas_draft_decision_250310_en.pdf (last access: 30 March 2010). and the Euro­pean Com­mis­sion pro­pos­al defin­ing the rules and pro­ce­dures for the Euro­pean Cit­i­zens’ Ini­tia­tive (ECI)1414Euro­pean Com­mis­sion: Pro­pos­al for a Reg­u­la­tion of the Euro­pean Par­lia­ment and of the Coun­cil on the cit­i­zens’ ini­tia­tive, COM (2010) 119, avail­able at: http://ec.europa.eu/dgs/secretariat_general/citizens_initiative/docs/com_2010_119_en.pdf (last access: 6 April 2010). received lim­it­ed atten­tion in the form of infor­ma­tive news. It can be safe­ly con­clud­ed that the afore­men­tioned fac­tors which led to the lack of atten­tion towards the impli­ca­tions of the Lis­bon Treaty also result­ed in the lack of atten­tion towards the sub­se­quent new work­ing style and struc­ture of the EU in Turkey.

    Footnotes

  • 1The Jour­nal of Turk­ish Week­ly: The Fail­ure of the Lis­bon Treaty? Con­se­quences for Turkey’s Acces­sion Process, 28 June 2008, avail­able at: http://www.turkishweekly.net/print.asp?type=3&id=2381 (last access: 26 April 2010).
  • 2Bahadır Kaleağası (Coor­di­na­tor of the Turk­ish Indus­tri­al­ists’ and Businessmen’s Asso­ci­a­tion (TUSIAD) quot­ed in Hür­riyet Dai­ly News, 19 Novem­ber 2009.
  • 3IKV’s Nas: EU Future with Lis­bon Treaty Should Con­cern Turkey, Inter­view with Çiğ­dem Nas by Yasemin Poyraz Doğan, Today’s Zaman, 21 Decem­ber 2009, avail­able at: http://www.todayszaman.com/tz-web/news-196138–8‑ikvs-nas-eus-future-with-lisbon-treaty-should-concern-turkey.html (last access: 17 May 2010).
  • 4Sum­ru Bil­cen: AB’de Onem­li Bir Adim: Lis­bon Ant­las­masi, TBMM Dış İlişk­il­er ve Pro­tokol Müdür­lüğü, 24 April 2010.
  • 5Nil­gün Arısan Eralp: Lis­bon Treaty and Turkey at a First Glance, TEPAV Eval­u­a­tion Note, Decem­ber 2009.
  • 6Cuneyt Yuk­sel: Lisbon’dan Son­ra­ki Bir­lik ve Türkiye, 16 Octo­ber 2009, avail­able at: http://www.abhaber.com/ozelhaber.php?id=4457 (last access: 26 April 2010).
  • 7Hil­mi Yavuz: Avru­pa Birli­gi Bir Medeniyet Pro­je­sidir, Zaman Online, 22 Novem­ber 2009, http://www.zaman.com.tr/yazar.do?yazino=918811 (last access: 26 April 2010).
  • 8IKV’s Nas: EU Future with Lis­bon Treaty Should Con­cern Turkey, Inter­view with Çiğ­dem Nas by Yasemin Poyraz Doğan, Today’s Zaman, 21 Decem­ber 2009, avail­able at: http://www.todayszaman.com/tz-web/news-196138–8‑ikvs-nas-eus-future-with-lisbon-treaty-should-concern-turkey.html (last access: 17 May 2010).
  • 9Mustafa Kut­lay: A New EU in the Mak­ing: Reflec­tions from Turkey, The Jour­nal of Turk­ish Week­ly, 23 Novem­ber 2009, avail­able at: http://www.turkishweekly.net/columnist/3230/a‑new-eu-in-the-making-reflections-from-turkey.html,%20last%20access%2012%20July2010 (last access: 12 July 2010).
  • 10Hil­mi Yavuz: Avru­pa Birli­gi Bir Medeniyet Pro­je­sidir, Zaman Online, 22 Novem­ber 2009, avail­able at: http://www.zaman.com.tr/yazar.do?yazino=918811 (last access: 26 April 2010).
  • 11AP’den Cather­ine Ashton’a Onay, 12 Jan­u­ary 2010, avail­able at: http://www.euroacademic.org.tr/index.php?act=show&code=guncel&resume=0&id=506&id_page=0 (last access: 17 May 2010).
  • 12Ömer Kurt­bağ: ATAUM AB Anal­iz, 26 Novem­ber 2009, avail­able at: http://www.ataum.tk (last access: 26 April 2010).
  • 13Pro­pos­al for a Coun­cil Deci­sion estab­lish­ing the organ­i­sa­tion and func­tion­ing of the Euro­pean Exter­nal Action Ser­vice, 25 March 2010, avail­able at: http://eeas.europa.eu/docs/eeas_draft_decision_250310_en.pdf (last access: 30 March 2010).
  • 14Euro­pean Com­mis­sion: Pro­pos­al for a Reg­u­la­tion of the Euro­pean Par­lia­ment and of the Coun­cil on the cit­i­zens’ ini­tia­tive, COM (2010) 119, avail­able at: http://ec.europa.eu/dgs/secretariat_general/citizens_initiative/docs/com_2010_119_en.pdf (last access: 6 April 2010).

The reports focus on a report­ing peri­od from Decem­ber 2009 until May 2010. This sur­vey was con­duct­ed on the basis of a ques­tion­naire that has been elab­o­rat­ed in March and April 2010. Most of the 31 reports were deliv­ered in May 2010.

The EU-27 Watch No. 9 receives sig­nif­i­cant fund­ing from the Otto Wolff-Foun­da­tion, Cologne, in the frame­work of the ‘Dia­log Europa der Otto Wolff-Stiftung’, and finan­cial sup­port from the Euro­pean Com­mis­sion. The Euro­pean Com­mis­sion is not respon­si­ble for any use that may be made of the infor­ma­tion con­tained there­in.