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Friday, January 21, 2011

MEP Andy Duff's dire FT piece

Andy Duff, a longtime critical supporter of Turkish accession in the European Parliament and now also monthly columnist for the Financial Times, has a long and depressing piece in today's FT. The piece reeks of gloom and pessimism; an unsettling fact for supporters of Turkey's EU bid given Duff's privileged position as a long-time EU insider. Efforts by Parliament and the Commission to move forward on the issue are, in his view, now largely symbolic.
The European Commission continues doggedly to pursue its mandate to negotiate on behalf of the EU, and is doing some good work inside Turkey, but actual progress is far too slow to transform the dynamics of integration.

While continuation of the effort is respected by the European Parliament, it is difficult to find MEPs who are still outright supporters of Turkey’s full membership.
In Duff's opinion, it seems, the Turkish quest for EU membership is all but over. A combination of "enlargement fatigue," failure to move forward on reforms in Turkey, the absence of a solution to the Cyprus issue, and rising Islamophobia in EU member states make for a too formidable obstacle. Duff's only suggestion is for Erdoğan to make use of the "one last chance to swallow his pride" and settle the Cyprus issue (on which, by the way, Duff is much more balanced than most).

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