Can Turkey’s relations with Europe, US be revived? - MEHMET ACET

Can Turkey’s relations with Europe, US be revived?

Turkey is going through a process that topped agendas with a statement President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan made in the second week of November: “We are launching a reform in the economy and law.”

So to speak, we have set off on a new path.

We know that in the upcoming days, Treasury and Finance Minister Lütfi Elvan and Justice Minister Abdülhamit Gül will gather with the business world and hold meetings. This will be followed by the preparation of a economic package, and it is predicted that the steps to be taken will be announced to the public by President Erdoğan in the first or second week of December.

One phase of this process involves steps to that will be taken in the economy and law, while the other phase seeks to mend relations with Europe and U.S.

It is important that both phases are implemented simultaneously.

If you ask why, the “amelioration” steps to be taken in the economy, democracy and judiciary fields alone are not sufficient. In order to strengthen the investment atmosphere, Turkey’s relations with the West must also be in as “calm” and “predictable” as possible.

Let us recall how sensitive markets are, especially regarding relations with the U.S. . We witnessed this during the Pastor Brunson crisis.

President Erdoğan presented a strong will in relation to mending ties with the West simultaneously with the economic and judicial reforms. He said, “We see ourselves not in other places but in Europe; we envision establishing our future together with Europe.”

In an exclusive interview to Daily Sabah, Presidential Communications Director Fahrettin Altun made evaluations that will help us better understand the nature of these steps, and called on Europe to “overcome its stalemate on Turkey.”

Let us quote:

“The EU has to overcome its stalemate on Turkey in the light of long-term common interests and without any discrimination. The next big move for the EU economy, politics and foreign policies would be Turkey’s full membership in the bloc. We are ready for this.”

In such an atmosphere which the question, “Will relations between Turkey and the West be restored?” is frequently asked and occupies minds, recent reports from the Mediterranean has refueled tensions.

The IRINI operation raid and hours-long search on a Turkish ship carrying goods to Libya seemed like it was intended to sabotage Ankara’s new orientation.

The raid was conducted by a German frigate on duty within the scope of IRINI. Additionally, sources in Ankara state that this search was carried out because the German frigate was the closest ship to the scene, and that the real source of the problem and illegality lies in the IRINI operation and those directing it.

Germany should be the first-degree addressee of Turkey’s calls to Europe. As it is the EU’s locomotive country and because it was the union’s president for a period, the approach Germany will take is a matter of curiosity.

I posed these matters to Bülent Güven, vice president of the International Democrat Union, which has widespread organizations in European countries and works in close cooperation with the Justice and Development Party (AK Party).

Güven, who closely follows and has a good command of Germany and the European agenda, and has a strong dialogue with German politicians, says that the German initiative will be perceived as extremely positively by the European public if it progresses with concrete steps, and states:

“As our president is a leader Europe cannot influence, despite being angry with him, he is still a state leader whose words they respect the most. In terms of Europeans, even the opposition groups in Europe say that he is a leader who has always kept his promises in bilateral relations with the EU.”

Meanwhile, the opposition in Turkey criticized and weakened the will presented by Erdoğan’s statement, “We see ourselves in Europe,” saying it is a “U-turn.”

Yet, when the fluctuations, tensions/ease, progress/regress in Turkey’s relations with Europe and the U.S. are considered independent of “causality,” not only will a sound analysis be prevented, but it will also pave the way to unjust criticisms with respect to certain matters such as this.

There is no doubt that the July 15 coup attempt – or rather the attitude adopted by Europe and the U.S. during and after July 15 and Ankara’s great disappointment with this attitude – is at the center of Turkey’s tensions with the West during recent years. Any criticism that overlooks this situation and fails to take into consideration Europe’s double standard, can have no real value.


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