Berlin, Paris stall PM’s EU meet ticket: Ankara

Berlin, Paris stall PM’s EU meet ticket: Ankara

Berlin, Paris stall PM’s EU meet ticket: Ankara

It is unknown whether Turkish PM Erdoğan would attend the EU summit. AA photo

It remains unlikely that Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan will be invited to a EU summit and take his place in the traditional “family picture” with leaders in the immediate future due to opposition from members such as France and Germany, according to Ankara sources. 

“We have made clear to the EU about our demand to attend EU summits in a bid to enhance our institutional strategic dialogue. But we have not observed such an intention from the EU,” a senior Turkish diplomat recently told the Hürriyet Daily News. 

Although the individual with the authority to invite candidate countries is the president of the European Council, Herman Van Rompuy, the diplomat believes the real powers behind this exclusionary decision are France and Germany, or in other words the so-called “deep Europe.” 

Although Van Rompuy’s invitation to Erdoğan to visit Brussels, the government is pressing for a higher-profile visit for the Turkish prime minister. 

With EU leaders gathering in Brussels for an EU Council meeting on March 14 and 15, Ankara has been insisting on a formula that would bring Erdoğan to Brussels on the same dates.

“What we have told them is that we don’t necessarily expect to join the EU summits, but it would be good if we were to take our place in the family picture,” the diplomat said.

It is not known whether Erdoğan would still go to Brussels just to meet Van Rompuy if he was not invited to make a higher-profile appearance in the EU capital. 

“EU countries refer to Van Rompuy’s decision to hold council meetings without the presence of candidate countries, but this is not the only reason,” the Ankara diplomat said. 

Single, solitary chapter

However, EU diplomats reject Ankara’s claims that France and Germany might be behind the situation, citing Van Rompuy’s decision not to invite candidate countries to the summits. 

“The EU is passing through historical moments. The very existence of the union is under discussion. There are so many things EU leaders are debating and the best platform to do so is the council meetings,” an EU diplomat told the Daily News. 

The Turkish government is equally frustrated with the French decision to remove its block on just one negotiation chapter. “This decision means that Paris will keep its unilateral political block on four chapters. We were expecting a strong statement from Paris on the removal of its block on all chapters,” the Turkish diplomat said, adding that this impediment was a political one and had nothing to do with the EU criteria. 

“The opening of negotiation chapters requires certain conditions. The French removal of the block will not cause the opening of these chapters right away. However, it would boost Turkey’s and the Turkish government’s aspirations to join the EU,” he said.

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius announced that Paris had decided to remove its block on the regional policies chapter after a meeting with Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu in Paris last week. This will be the first chapter to be opened in the last three years.