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The Positive Agenda and Beyond: A New Beginning for the EU-Turkey Relations?

What do Turkey’s democratic transformation, its future EU membership and its growing position in the Middle East signify for a Europe which is experiencing severe difficulties in its relations with Islam? Answers to these questions will determine the EU’s future policy towards Turkey both as a candidate for membership and as a full partner of the EU and its Member States. Only after such a soul searching can a new era of genuine partnership start between Turkey and its future European partners. Recently the European Commission, in consultation with Turkish authorities, the European Council, as well as members of Turkish civil society, has launched a brand new initiative called the Positive Agenda. The objective is to revive the stalled relationship between the EU and Turkey by rebuilding confidence and normalizing the process. If successful the Positive Agenda could let the EU revisit its basic principles that have made recent enlargement rounds beneficial to the stability in Eastern Europe. To that end it may consider proposing to Turkey a clear date for accession without which no initiative could be conclusive and sustainable.

The Positive Agenda and Beyond A New Beginning for the
European Union Enlargement Commissioner Fuele shakes hands with Turkey’s EU Minister Bagis during their meeting in Ankara.
 

It is no exaggeration to say that European Union (EU)-Turkey relations are going through one of its darkest times. Membership negotiations and political cooperation alike are stuck and neither side seems willing to unblock them. EU politicians are more than pleased with a Turkey that is sailing away and the Government of Turkey is proudly and pretentiously becoming a self-declared regional power with no need of EU norms.

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