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.
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.
Despite his announcements to the contrary, Erdogan knows perfectly well that US-Turkey relations cannot be started anew during his tenure. Therefore, the Turkish president’s goal for this meeting will be to push the breaks on the US’s torment of Ankara.
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.