Turkey, EU should take a break in ties: Leading businessman
Şebnem Turhan - ISTANBUL
Sedat Aloğlu, a leading businessman who is also an expert on Turkish-European ties, has recommended a temporary “break” in ties between Turkey and European Union until elections in Germany so that their relations can ultimately emerge in a healthier fashion.
Constructive policies that will lead to a “win-win” situation in bilateral ties should be developed, according to Aloğlu, who headed the Turkish section of the Turkish-U.S. Business Council from 1986 to 1992 and chaired the Economic Development Foundation (İKV) between 1992 and 1995.
“Maintaining ties is of great importance for both sides. Turkish-EU ties have come to an undesired point after and in the wake of a series of key developments, including a coup attempt in Turkey last July, a crucial referendum in Turkey and elections in European countries. Both parties’ ties have become seriously tense and they need a break. I believe that they should have a temporary break in their ties until the German elections occur [in September]. Afterwards, it will be of great significance for them and the other sides of the world to redevelop and restore their relations,” he said in an interview.
Ultimately, bilateral problems and possible solutions should be frozen for the moment, Aloğlu said.
“The EU has been suffering a structural problem and needs restructuring. The EU has already been working to fix it. Turkey may assume a position during this restructuring period. Another key point here is the globalization trend within the EU. Globalization has created some economic concerns in several countries and these concerns manifest themselves in the form of protest votes. We saw this in the latest U.S. elections. [Donald] Trump established his game completely on this issue and came to power. Even in the world’s most developed countries, the main factor in voting behaviors is short-term economic expectations,” he added.
According to him, another key issue which has now affected the EU is a “clash of civilizations” that unfortunately fuels terror.
“Turkey and the EU actually have key elements to avoid this kind of clash. I believe that they should take this responsibility both against the past and the future … Both parties should target policies which will lead to win-win results, just like in famous economic John Nash’s equilibrium. The EU should also enter a second Enlightenment period,” he added.
According to Aloğlu, some European countries displayed an insufficient response following the July 15, 2016, coup attempt.
“This has created anger and sadness in Turkey. Europe should voice political will and show an endeavor to fix this,” he said, adding that the EU should deliver its comments or criticism in a friendlier manner.
Aloğlu also said good relations with the West for Turkey would also ensure good relations with the East. “We have the position and the past to achieve this.”
Turkey was one of the founding members of the Council of Europe in 1949, before its EU membership process began in 1963. The process came to a key point in 1995 with the signing of a customs deal, he said.
Turkey’s target is full EU membership, Aloğlu said.