Turkey’s foreign minister will meet his German counterpart in Saxony today, as part of a push to smooth relations with one of the EU’s most influential members.
12 years after EU membership talks began, a German-led effort saw Turkey’s bid for accession put on ice last year. After trading barbs over human rights, terrorism and domestic politics, a March survey found 77% of EU citizens wanted to prevent Turkish membership—including 86% in Germany. For its part, Turkey declared it no longer needed membership, but wouldn’t initiate the process to cancel its bid.
Moving forward, both foreign ministers have stated a strong interest in repairing bilateral relations. European capital constituted 79% of foreign direct investment in Turkey last year, and Germany’s influence is crucial for improving bilateral relations within the bloc. For Berlin, Turkey’s NATO membership and role in stemming migration make it an essential regional partner.
Bilateral relations show signs of slow improvement. Regardless, Turkey’s application of emergency powers and implementation of an executive presidency in 2019 run counter to EU democratic standards and will likely keep talks of accession frozen for the near future.
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