European Union did not change much in its stance toward Türkiye. Türkiye, nevertheless, sped up the process for progress in accession talks before relations, at least on a political level, deteriorated.
When figures in the EU talk about the new members that might join the union by 2030, there is no mention of Türkiye. It is a glaring omission noticed by Ankara.
When the European Union published its annual reports on candidate countries’ progress toward EU norms on Wednesday, all eyes will be on Ukraine and Moldova.
Türkiye, a formal candidate for membership since 1999, will barely be discussed, but it wasn’t always the case. After EU leaders approved the start of accession talks with Türkiye in 2004, the then-British premier Tony Blair hailed it as a historic event showing no clash of civilizations. But European leaders at the time found themselves stuck in a tussle with Ankara over the divided island of Cyprus. This crisis proved to be only a foretaste of the turbulent relationship. Today, ties are more transactional than a path toward partnership, even if neither side will openly admit this. Experts nevertheless still point to limited areas in which the relationship can improve.
For many EU member states, the long-stalled accession talks are dead in all but name. In September, Austria, long opposed to Türkiye’s membership, even called for the process to end.
EU officials privately say this would be more honest, but no one wants to make the first move.