Turkey has accused the EU of “strategic blindness,” criticizing the bloc’s decision this week to keep membership talks with Ankara in stalemate as being “detached from reality” and based on “ideological motives.”
The Turkish foreign ministry stated on Friday that the move – taken at the EU’s General Affairs Council meeting on Tuesday – proved once again that Brussels does not see the issue of the bloc’s enlargement through a “strategic point of view.” Instead, the ministry said it approaches the question on the basis of narrow interests and “membership solidarity.”
In its statement, the ministry said the decision ignored Turkey’s commitment to accession talks and importance to regional peace and stability and accused the EU of acting like an “interest group based on bargaining” and “not as a set of principles and values.”
These decisions, which are a new example of how the EU is exploited by some member states’ narrow views and selfish interests, neither contribute to Turkey-EU relations or the general interests of Europe, nor do they bring us any closer to the aim of creating a more positive and constructive agenda.
At the meeting to set the bloc’s agenda for 2022, the General Affairs Council noted that Turkey “continues to move further away” from the EU. The council had reiterated “serious concerns” over Ankara’s “deeply worrying backsliding” in democracy, rule of law, rights and judicial independence.
It also stuck to a previous decision that noted how accession negotiations had “effectively … come to a standstill and no further chapters can be considered for opening or closing.”
The meeting also criticized Turkey’s foreign policy as going against EU priorities and referenced ongoing tensions with Greece over the decades-long Cyprus issue.
Urging the EU to abandon its “strategic blindness,” the foreign ministry added that Turkey was inclined to develop its ties with the bloc through a “concrete and positive agenda” based on the membership perspective.
Although Turkey applied for official candidacy in 1987, the EU only opened accession talks with Ankara in 2005. These discussions have been suspended for several years over a number of policy disputes and tensions with neighboring countries.