Whether in the United States, the European Union or in Turkey, doom and gloom permeate debates surrounding Turkey’s EU accession. Turkey’s EU membership nowadays is typically written off as a pipedream. In turn, Turkey’s democratic consolidation has been deprived of the solid EU anchor it still badly needs. The Cyprus conflict and its repercussions represent the most blatant thorn in the side of Turkey’s EU accession process. Resolving the Cyprus issue and the intra-EU debates underpinning Turkey’s accession process may not be in sight. But hidden within the technicalities of the post-Lisbon EU decision-making process may be a ray of light that could unblock Turkey’s troubled path to Europe.
Unblocking Turkey’s EU Accession
Debates over Turkey’s application for EU membership are rife with pessimism nowadays. Much of the gloom comes from the many obstacles either directly or indirectly posed by the Cyprus conflict and its manifold repercussions on EU-Turkey relations. Resolving the Cyprus conflict remains the only means to untie the Gordian knot at the heart of Turkey’s troubled accession process, but a settlement of the conflict on the island may not be in sight. However, hidden within the technicalities of the post-Lisbon EU decision-making process may be a ray of light that could unblock Turkey’s troubled path to Europe. The Direct Trade Regulation, proposed back in 2004 by the European Commission to lift the isolation of northern Cyprus, may be resurrected by the new decision-making procedures of the post-Lisbon EU. Were this to take place, much needed momentum may be injected in Turkey’s ailing EU accession process.
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