The popularity of a leadership
keen on aunting its afnity,solidarity, and close links to
Muslim brothers than to European
friends exacerbates concerns
that Turkey has an inherently non-European disposition.
aside, hiding behind the
o new procedures orEuropean public opinion.However, developments in urkey and conduct by Ankarahave also exacerbated some o these trends. As also recog-nized in EU statements and the most recent progressreport,
urkey has experienced marked deterioration onsome central pillars supporting a balance o power, suchas media and judiciary. At the same time, urkish publicopinion polls reect deepening cynicism about the EU.Te popularity o a leadership more keen on aunting itsafnity, solidarity, and close links to Muslim brothers thanto European riends exacerbates concerns that urkey has an inherently non-European disposition. Tis view was aggravated when the urkish prime minister recently suggested that capital punishment could be reintroducedin urkey because apparently this is what his constituen-cies desire. Te democratic and strategic vision o urkey appears to be in ux.Te rhetoric Ankara employs to assert itsel as a regionalpower or emphasize its indispensable role or the “weak-ening West” has increased concern about how muchmore difcult it would be to reach a consensus in the EUi urkey were a member state.
Tis perception has beenrecently heightened by urkey’s conduct in NAO.
Dueto their bilateral ris, Ankara blocks deeper cooperationbetween Israel and NAO, which has consequences or allNAO partner countries. Ankara also wrangled over theparticipation o the EU in the NAO Chicago summit o May 2012.
Because 21 o the 28 NAO member states arealso EU member states, such incidents raise concern inthe EU about having urkey in EU institutions. Toughthere is no simple solution on the horizon to reverse thesedynamics, there are steps and realities that could break (orbrake) the negative spiral.
Turning the Tide on the Brussels-Ankara Track
Among other things, the EU “positive agenda” launchedthis year involves setting up working groups to supporturkey’s eorts to align with the
(EU legislation) onchapters or which negotiations cannot be opened or the
Tis ormula clearly does not solve the essen-tial problem o the ormal stalemate, but is a way to work around it or the time being, to ensure time spent in thewaiting room is not wasted. A necessary complement to thistrack would be or the urkish people to be inormed abouthow this bureaucratic process aects their daily lie.With the election o Francois Hollande as its presidentthis year, expectations that France will step in to reviveEU leverage over urkey have risen, rst and oremost by unblocking the ve negotiation chapters blocked in 2007 by President Nikolas Sarkozy because he believed urkey didnot belong in Europe. Tis move le urkish democrats andEU institutions with no leverage over Ankara to demandthe implementation o EU political criteria. oday, Parisappears interested in having a more positive relationshipwith Ankara, and President Hollande is set to visit Ankarain early 2013. France is eager to rebuild a policy toward theArab countries where Islamists have taken the prominentleadership positions. France’s “civilizational” snub o urkey would hamper its ambitions towards this geography. In any case, opening the chapters France currently blocks will notopen the oodgates o urkey’s EU accession. From theCyprus problem to eventual ratication o accession by eachEU member state, ample and more legitimate opportunitiesto stall urkey’s membership lie ahead.
3 The EU Commission in its Enlargement Strategy for 2011-2012 published on October