Turkey lies on the frontier between traditionally Christian Europe, and the Middle East with its Islamic Realm. Since the EU formed, Turkey has been considering whether to be politically closer to Europe or politically closer to the Middle East.
Turkey has been a candidate to join the European Union (EU), with active dialogue since 2005. The dialogue is known as “accession” talks. This is the dialogue between the EU and any nation that wants to join the EU.
Turkey started the talks with the EU when Turkey was still ruled by a secular government. At that time it seemed Turkey wanted to associate more with Europe. However, the Third Signpost would likely require Turkey to become more politically involved with the Middle East.
With the Third Signpost looming, and the government under Erdoğan drifting ever more Islamist, it’s no wonder that Turkey’s cozying up with Europe would likely not work out.
Certain hot button issues have slowed down the process by which Turkey could join the EU. Among them have been human rights, the Armenian genocide, and now the handling of Turkey’s July “coup” particularly in bringing capital punishment back.
This story just broke how the EU parliament voted to freeze talks with Turkey. Austria is leading the motion to cause the EU to stop accession talks. It seems Austria might still be upset at the Turks assaulting their beloved Vienna twice – in 1529 and 1683.
The stopping of the process to bring Turkey into the EU shouldn’t be surprising, but almost expected, if you know the Signposts. This is, therefore, a rather significant event in Turkey’s march to the Third Signpost.
Categories: In The News, Signpost #3: Four Nations
The 479 to 37 vote to freeze negotiations, overwhelming majority though it is, is non-binding: it is advisory only. The EU parliament has very little power. It is a far cry from US congress. It resembles much more the non-binding resolutions of the general assembly of the United Nations.
On Dec. 15-16 the EU leaders will discuss Turkey when they meet in Brussels at a regular summit – they are the ones to decide whether to adopt the advice of the EU parliament – or not. Them adopting it would be a more significant event, even though that would be just an official recognition of the reality that is already frozen for a long time.
Recently Erdogan has suggested that Turkey should join SCO in stead of the EU. This Shanghai Cooperation Organization – also called the Shanghai Pact – is a loose security and economic bloc led by Russia and China. Other members are Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. I suppose Turkey is much more welcome in that club than in the EU…
Yet even this could be a mere threat. Only if in response to a “freeze” decision in December Turkey starts flooding the EU with refugees, as the Turkish government has threatened before, we have a really significant event, for then Turkey is finally estranged from Europe, with no way back. For only their deeds will show what Erdogan really wants.
That might then lead to a VERY significant event: Turkey leaving NATO. Not many in European politics seem to even whisper about that now, and neither seems any politician in Turkey – therefore this might never happen.
If that would happen, US and Europe (in NATO) are no longer bound to support Turkey in a war with Iran.
Interesting take on Turkey and NATO. Thanks for the link.