In what may be one of its most critical annual reports on Turkey to date, the EU warns the candidate country to beware of democratic backsliding, citing its worrying track record with regard to rule of law and rights and freedoms. It also highlights heated foreign policy disagreements.
The Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD) is the big winner of the country’s 2021 federal elections. Many in Turkey and in Germany’s Turkish diaspora are pinning their hopes on Olaf Scholz, the SPD’s candidate for chancellor.
Only 19 of Kosovo’s 31 embassies abroad currently have ambassadors. This marks a significant failure on the part of the government just as the country needs diplomatic strength to fortify its position as an independent state.
With the 2016 EU-Turkey refugee deal coming to an end, the next agreement should be more comprehensive as Turkey grapples with an influx of Afghan refugees amid domestic economic downturn and a wave of political polarization that places refugees front and center.
Relations between Turkey and the West have been eroded by years of crises, and Turkish President Erdogan’s recent attempts at rapprochement have their limits. Still, while Turkey may be drifting further away from the US, European-Turkish relations have remained remarkably resilient.
Erdogan posits that only by admitting Turkey can the EU save itself from uncertainty. But by focusing only on what power the EU might gain by doing so, he fails to recognize the multidimensional nature of the EU’s ontological identity and Turkey’s own shortcomings.
Turkey has become an adversarial partner of the EU as the result of several international disagreements and the worsening state of Turkish democracy under President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Still, both parties are signaling for new cooperation based on mutual interests in fields such as migration and the economy.
A recent Carnegie Europe report argues that the EU and US should work to restore cooperation after years of distance under the Trump Administration. By doing so, they may better position themselves to promote democracy and rebuild influence in the face of disruptive actors such as Russia, China, and Turkey.
With Joe Biden’s election victory, many countries expect the US to once again play a more assertive and constructive role in international and regional affairs. Nonetheless, the Biden administration’s attempts to reengage will undoubtedly be met with significant challenges from Asia, the Middle East, and even Europe.
An arena for global power games for centuries, the Balkans has yet again become the site of geopolitical competition with the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.