EU debates ending Turkey's accession talks

EU Enlargement Commissioner Johannes Hahn has called for the membership talks with Turkey, which have been on hold for months, to be ended. He said that EU membership for the country was not realistic "in the foreseeable future" and that a strategic partnership between the EU and Ankara should be the new goal. Would this be a sensible step?

Open/close all quotes
Frankfurter Rundschau (DE) /

Risk a fresh start

Breaking off the EU accession negotiations with Turkey is the right move, the Frankfurter Rundschau believes:

“Once the negotiations on full membership are over, the EU and Turkey will be able to concentrate on what they have in common instead of bickering about what sets them apart. Discussions about economic issues like enlarging the customs union would then be easier. So ending the accession talks would provide the stimulus for a new start in Europe's difficult relations with Turkey and finally allow the two parties to deal with each other on an equal footing. Of course there could be no question of the EU denying its values or sparing Turkey uncomfortable discussions about basic rights. Because only a democratic Turkey can fulfil its role as Europe's security partner.”

Népszava (HU) /

Fodder for Erdoğan's shrill campaigns

An end to the talks would strengthen the position of the Turkish president, fears Népszava:

“Erdoğan could exploit such a rebuff to the max. ... In a country where the oppositional media has been almost completely eradicated and where 47 percent of society believes that the Turkish economy is the victim of a foreign attack, this will be child's play for him. Erdoğan will be able to cry out even more shrilly that his country is the victim of constant attacks. Ending the membership talks would also provide him with a welcome opportunity to mobilise his supporters for the local elections in March.”

Daily Sabah (TR) /

Hahn has no say on this

The EU Commissioner should keep his mouth shut, complains ex-SPD politician and AKP adviser Ozan Ceyhun in Daily Sabah:

“I wish Hahn would not speak anymore. After the elections in May 2019, a new European Parliament will be formed following a new EU Commission. We are almost there. Turkey will talk with its new counterparts when the time comes. It is clear that with people like Hahn or [author of the EU Parliament's response to the EU Commission's progress report on Turkey's EU Membership] Kati Piri, there will be no benefit to the EU or to Turkey on the enlargement of the EU.”