Turkey still wants to join EU
Ankara is committed to joining the European Union, as before, the Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Mehmet Şimşek said at the EU-Turkey Business Dialogue roundtable in Brussels.
"We remain committed to joining the EU. Turkey is still a candidate," RIA Novosti cited the minister as saying.
Recently, the European Union are preparing to withdraw €175million in funding for Turkey which had been allocated to prepare the country to become a fully-fledged member of the bloc. In November, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker urged Ankara to return to European values in order to maintain its chances of joining the European Union.
The head of the political research of the Center for Modern Turkish Studies, Yuri Mavashev, speaking with a correspondent of Vestnik Kavkaza, noted that Simsek's statement is rather a symbolic one. "Turkey has stop considering the prospects of joining the EU seriously a long time ago, which can be confirmed by numerous critical statements made by the Turkish leadership. The voiced criticism is quite conscious, as Ankara understands that Brussels will not let it join the alliance on a number of reasons, first of all, because of Turkey's new political course. But Simsek's statement shows that there have been some changes in the international conjuncture that require some kind of resuscitation of negotiations with the European Union," he explained.
The expert recalled the events that could lead to this. "The United States provides active support to the Kurds with weapons, and yesterday it recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Such things are fundamentally changing the situation. High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs Federica Mogherini, in turn, reacted negatively to this step of the US. In this context, Erdogan's visit to Greece is interesting, as many view the relations between Greece and Turkey as a certain key to the EU. The totality of these events indicates that Turkey would like to distance itself from the US, but not from the whole West - hence the revival of contacts with the European Union," Yury Mavashev believes.
At the same time, there is little room for rapprochement between Turkey and the EU now. "There are no prerequisites for Turkey's greater integration into the European Union, especially since today's discrepancies between them are of a fundamental nature. The last straw was the problems during the campaign among Turks living in Europe before the constitutional referendum. And now they apparently decided to postpone the accumulated differences for the time being because of the behavior of the United States," the head of the political research of the Center for Modern Turkish Studies concluded.