Home Finance The EU and Turkey need each other by Ana Palacio

The EU and Turkey need each other by Ana Palacio

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Earlier this year, Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan condemned the European Union’s “strategic blindness”, saying it cannot truly be a “global player” without Turkey. Although such comments do little to improve bilateral relations, they contain more than a grain of truth.

MADRID – Even before Hamas’s barbaric attack on Israel propelled the Middle East to the forefront of global geopolitics, the European Union recognized Turkey’s crucial importance as a bridgehead for region. Yet the EU’s policy of engagement with Turkey has long been based primarily on life support.

Europe’s wider neighborhood appears to be entering a new era of chaos. A growing number of players are willing to take major risks without worrying about the potential consequences. As existing engagement frameworks become increasingly obsolete, creative mediation and imaginative diplomacy are essential.

But it is far from certain that Europe is up to the task. The list of geopolitical challenges the EU faces is as long as it is neglected. The EU’s relative passivity in the face of coups in Africa, instability in the Mediterranean and violence between Kosovo and Serbia in the Balkans – to name just a few examples – undermines the Union’s ability to credibility as a relevant geopolitical actor. Even when it comes to the war taking place on Ukraine’s doorstep, the EU often appears more like a spectator than a power broker.

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