Emerson, Michael. (2006) Dear Turkey, play it long and cool. CEPS Commentaries, 15 December 2006. [Policy Paper]
[From introduction] How should the current impasse between the European Union and Turkey be interpreted, and how should Turkey react? Commissioner Olli Rehn says there is no train crash, but rather a slowing down because of works on the line. The Commission manifestly seeks to avoid a crisis, while being obliged to react to the non-implementation of the Ankara Protocol. Actually one can read the measures taken – namely to freeze (or not to open) 8 out of the 35 chapters of accession negotiations – in even lower key than Olli Rehn. The so-called ‘negotiations’ are not really negotiations at all, rather a process for monitoring Turkey’s unilateral adoption of the EU acquis. Turkey can perfectly well carry on its long process of unilateral convergence on the EU acquis in any case. The Commission’s staff will be happy to remain in constant informal contact with Mr Babacan’s team. Whether this process continues in or out of formal negotiations does not really matter at this stage, and the Commission will continue to review progress in its regular reports in any case. This requires that Turkey sees these measures as contributing to the ongoing modernization of Turkey’s democracy and economic governance. Turkey already has full access to EU markets through the customs union, so this not a matter of trading market–opening concessions, but rather one of choosing anchorage on European standards to improve domestic governance.
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