RIGA - In the next coming years Turkey’s admission to the EU is definitely not possible, European Parliament member Artis Pabriks (Unity) believes.
Turkey’s accession to the EU has never been a short-term issue, and in recent years the likelihood of Turkey’s admission to the bloc has diminished because the country is moving towards an authoritarian rule, which is not compatible with membership in the EU, Pabriks told BNS.
Pabriks believes, though, that the EU itself should take a great deal of responsibility for this. “I still believe that it was a big mistake of France, Germany and Austria to say in 2005 that Turkey would not be an EU member even if it met the accession requirements. It certainly reduced Turkey’s willingness to meet these requirements and it also reduced the EU’s influence on Turkey’s reforms,” Pabriks said.
At the same time, relations between the EU and Turkey are essential for the EU’s global role, because without Turkey the bloc’s decline will continue. Furthermore, Turkey has the largest NATO army in Europe and access to the Asian region.
“I would attach significance to two sets of issues. Firstly, the EU-Turkey customs union might be improved, which might give a new impulse to economic exchange between the EU and Turkey. Secondly, the issue of Cyprus is also important. Cyprus is the reason why there is a ceiling to the improvement of the relations. A solution to the Cyprus issue would give a major geopolitical improvement. All European leaders should contribute their efforts towards uniting the island. If we cannot find a solution to this issue, we cannot rule out the situation where after yet another failed peace talks Turkey just annexes the northern part of Cyprus. The EU would be unable to do anything about it,” Pabriks warned.
The Latvian MEP believes that the EU has to continue providing assistance to Turkey in its reforms so that Turkey resembled an EU member as much as possible. This is not possible without Turkey’s own involvement, though.
This Sunday, Turkey is holding a referendum on expanding the president’s powers. The outcome of this popular vote can potentially change Turkey’s political system for decades to come and determine Ankara’s further relations with the West.