Let’s not fool ourselves on EU accession

Let’s not fool ourselves on EU accession

The election of Donald Trump as president of the United States has led to consecutive impacts on the world’s political and economic order, sparking fresh global and regional instabilities. The world was not safe before Trump, but it risks being in much more danger due to his reckless, arrogant and selfish policies. 

He has long been bullying the world, even the U.S.’s allies, through economic sanctions and the use of the power of the U.S. dollar, causing outrage in the world and opening quests on how the U.S.’s economic dominance could be avoided. A BRICS’ summit in July, the EU’s internal discussions and negotiations with Washington were only a few of these efforts.

Equally important is the fact that Trump’s presidency came as the world capitalist order was also in the middle of a big transformation process. Bags of money which have been floating around emerging economies over more than a decade are now returning home, leaving many of these countries, like Turkey, without sufficient amount of dollars to pay its debts.

Countries like Russia, Iran and China who have been immediate targets of the Trump administration have long been in an effort to break the dollar-dominated trade in the world. They seem to be joined by prominent European countries, like France whose President Emmanuelle Macron announced that Europe could no longer rely on the U.S. for its security.

Turkey is not exempt from Trump’s bullying policies. The U.S. decision to ally with the People’s Protection Units (YPG) in Syria has long been causing a major security issue for Turkey. On the other hand, imposing sanctions against Turkey over the continued detention of pastor Andrew Brunson instead of using necessary diplomatic means has hit the already fragile Turkish economy.

This picture necessitates Turkey to engage in talks with other countries that wish to set up a new order in the world to avoid the Trump-led crisis.

It’s not up to this columnist to argue what kind of an order will be shaped and how long this process will take, but one still can discuss where Turkey should locate itself in such a new order.

Let’s be straight forward: The place Turkey will occupy will not be EU membership. So, we should not fool ourselves over the EU accession process.

Unfortunately, this government’s recklessness toward the EU in the last four years and abandoning reforms almost irreversibly led to the suspension of this process. Macron has long been very blunt on this and repeated his point in his address to ambassadors on Aug. 27.

“President [Recep Tayyip] Erdoğan’s Turkey is not the Turkey of Kemal [Atatürk],” Macron said, at the expense of drawing Ankara’s reaction. More interestingly, he made this statement on the day his Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire hosted Turkey’s Finance and Treasury Minister Berat Albayrak and voiced support to Turkey’s economic stability.

The French president suggested the establishment of a “strategic partnership” with countries like Turkey and Russia whose cooperation would bring about a safer European continent.

Turkey’s perception among many EU countries is mainly about its geopolitical significance –especially in the joint fight against terror and stopping irregular migrants – not over the joint shared democratic values.

It’s important that Turkey is about to convene its EU Reform Action Group after a three-year break but it may be too late to convince Brussels if the government will continue its reluctance of a genuine return to its democratic agenda.

However, Turkey still needs to revive the democratic reform process not for Brussels but for its citizens. Turkey and the Turkish people deserve to be placed among decent and respected countries of the world, and the only way to do so is to upgrade its democratic standards.

European Union, accession, Politics