EP might become more right-wing and anti-Turkey: Experts

EP might become more right-wing and anti-Turkey: Experts

Tine Kirkensgaard- ISTANBUL
EP might become more right-wing and anti-Turkey: Experts

A significant rise of European right-wing parties will only worsen an already stagnated relationship between European Union and Turkey, according to Nilgün Arısan, director of the Center of European Union Studies at the Economic Policy Research Foundation of Turkey (TEPAV).

The influence of parties such as Hungarian Fidesz, German Alternative für Deutschland and Italian Lega Nord has already affected issues like visa liberation and the Customs Union Modernization negatively between the EU and Turkey, Arısan said.

Far-right European parties are projected to only gain more power in this year’s election, according to European Election Stats.

 “The right-wing extremists are rejecting Turkey on identity and value politics, so even if Turkey fulfills all the conditions demanded by the EU, in a parliament where the right-wings have power, Turkey will not become a member,” she said.

According to Amanda Paul, an expert on Turkey at the independent Brussels-based think tank European Policy Centre, an increasing number of nationalistic right-wing representatives in the new EP will not change the Turkish relations with the EU drastically.

With the EU recently calling for an official suspension of Turkey’s accession process with the EU, the parliament sitting from the last election in 2014 has had a particularly strong position in criticizing Turkey.

 “But, obviously, this new EP will probably be more opposed to Turkish accession to the previous one, even though they can’t really do more now than they have already done with the suspension of the accession process,” said Paul.


EU-Turkish relations stagnated

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has recently reiterated that Turkey would continue to seek full membership and rejected the idea of a partnership.

Turkey and the EU already have a de facto partnership, including cooperation on the refugee crisis, counter-terrorism measures and the customs union, according to her.

Amanda Paul states that it is clear that EU as a whole does not want Turkey to be a member – and probably didn’t want Turkey as a member, when Turkey initially started the accession process.

Ayselin Yıldız, associate professor of the international relations department at Yaşar University, has concerns about the discourse by European parliamentarians on migration and border control issues.

The EU should emphasize the importance of protecting EU’s founding values like rule of law, respecting minorities’ rights and democracy, which are now in a crisis in many EU member states, according to her.

“By using migration as a securitizing issue, the EU is damaging those values rather than making them more respected. The founding values of the EU are in crisis, and the EP is a crucial institution in saving those values,” she said.

Amanda Paul agrees that there should be more solidarity between the member states regarding the migration issue. Some members of the EP are at the moment looking out for their own interests or of the parties, they represent, and it needs to change.

“They need to start working together and have one position on this,” she said.