Despite a recently rising tension between Turkey and the European Union, some experts argue that the EU leaders’ summit on Dec. 10-11 will not lead to any substantial sanctions against the Turkish government, and the bloc’s possible exclusionary policies targeting the country would work against the union itself.
While some circles think that the upcoming summit would be a “breaking point” in bilateral relations, political experts say this perspective did not alone reflect the truth and the EU would not risk losing Turkey.
According to Enes Bayrakli, the European studies director of the Turkish think tank Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research (SETA), although the EU and Turkey have had some disputes, they should work to strengthen their ties through cooperation.
The current international political environment makes cooperation a must for both sides, Bayrakli said, noting that none of the sides has the luxury to turn its back on the other.
He went on to say that the December summit might result in some “symbolic” decisions against Ankara, adding it was unlikely that the European pact would adopt significant sanctions. The Turkish expert said the discourse on the so-called “breaking point” was rather a tool used to set psychological pressure on Ankara.
Bayrakli further noted that Europe has gone through a serious transformation period in the past two decades due to a particular discourse adopted by the far right and left, which was one of the reasons behind the tension with Turkey.
“So, Europe, to become a global actor, needs a country like Turkey,” and it also needs to confront its own weaknesses, he said, adding that the EU, however, did not have such capabilities at the moment. “On the contrary, Europe is moving towards far-right and authoritative [structure].”
Nursin Atesoglu Guney, an academic at the International Relations department of Istanbul-based Nisantasi University, agreed that Turkey and the EU have gone through a thorny period, yet the EU would not give up on Turkey.
“I don’t think the EU would opt to depart from Turkey,” she said, adding both sides were somehow dependent on one another.
The European organization currently has many internal disputes, other than the disagreements with Turkey, she stressed.
Some members, including France, Austria, Greece, and the Greek Cypriot administration, want to corner Turkey and impose sanctions, she noted, saying there were also other member countries sharing bilateral ties and common interests with Ankara.
According to Guney, the EU would not cut its ties with Turkey due to multiple reasons, including economic and security concerns, while, she added, excluding Turkey would not be in favor of European leaders.
[AA, 30 November 2020]