2009 will be critical in determining the direction in which Turkey’s EU accession talks are headed, states a new report from the International Crisis Group (ICG), which pcictures two alternatives: either there will be a break through or talks might break off.
The European Court on Human Rights (ECHR) ruled Tuesday that Turkey violated the property rights of two Armenian foundations in Istanbul. (UPDATED)
"Turkey and Europe: The Decisive Year Ahead
Europe Report N°197
15 December 2008
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY AND RECOMMENDATIONS
Turkey is entering a critical year, in which its prospects for European Union (EU) membership are at make or break stage. Domestic crises over the past two years have slowed national reform, betrayed the promise of a new constitution and undermined the political will needed to pursue accession negotiations. Its leaders show scant sign of changing course, at least before the March 2009 local elections, and EU states are applying little pressure to reinvigorate reform. Both sides need to recall how much they have to gain from each other and move quickly on several fronts to break out of this downward spiral before one or the other breaks off the negotiations, which could then well prove impossible to start again."
Time for EU-Turkey ‘Urgency’ – by Hugh Pope
An abrupt and unusual word buried in a European Union declaration on Dec. 8 showed the mounting risks of a breakdown in Turkey’s EU membership talks. Ankara’s need to solve its problems with Cyprus, foreign ministers warned, has become "urgent." Thanks also to Turkey’s failure to meet EU reform benchmarks since the negotiations started in 2005, a showdown looks inevitable over the next year.Failure to reform and deep political polarization have led to a sense of lost direction in Turkey. Nationalism and human-rights violations are on the rise again. As the adoption of EU norms look more distant, ethnic tensions between Turks and Kurds have occasionally spilled over into neighborhood violence and attacks on shops even in major western cities. The great progress made in a golden era of reform from 2000 to 2004 is at risk.
22 September 2008
Nationalists have been accusing the government of "selling the country to foreigners," however, a recent study has revealed that these allegations are not based on facts.
The research, titled "Integration of the Settled Foreigners in Turkey: Problems and Opportunities," was conducted by the International Strategic Research Organization, or USAK, with the support of Turkish Scientific and Technological Research center of Turkey, or TÜBİTAK. The study found that estates sold to foreigners in Turkey made up only a small portion of the total.
In a statement regarding the political dimension of the project, Sedat Laçiner, chairman of USAK ,said Turkey’s 20-year-old problem of "settled foreigners" was discussed fully by USAK for the first time.
Turkish President Abdullah Gul has cancelled planned visits to Iraq, Russia, Israel and Palestine, Turkey’s broadcaster CNNTurk reported on Monday.
Al-Ahram Weekly (Egypt) 3 – 9 December 2008, Issue No. 925
Mustafa El-Labbad *
As Turkey becomes increasingly engaged in Middle East issues, Arabs would do well to review their preconceptions of it, writes Mustafa El-Labbad.
After an absence of many decades, Turkey has returned as a major player in the Middle East. Clearly motivated by national interests, its reengagement in the affairs of the region will have significant repercussions on Middle Eastern balances of powers. It will also impact on the way Arab elites regard Turkey and their judgements on that country’s historical experience since the declaration of the republic in 1923.
The European Union will open the chapters of "free movement of capital" and "information society and media" in Turkey’s accessions negotiations with the bloc, ANKA news agency reported on Tuesday.
Is the new global economic climate rewriting conventional wisdoms, including those concerning Turkey and the European Union?
Turkish political authorities finally initiated dialogue with the Iraqi Kurds when a delegation headed by a Turkish ambassador visited northern Iraq recently.