Since the opening of accession negotiations in October 2005, Turkey’s relationship with the European Union (EU) has been problematic. Opposition to Turkey’s full membership from within the EU and domestic difficulties within the country has created a climate of mutual distrust and suspicion, affecting the pace of the negotiation process and raising many questions. Is Turkey’s EU accession process grinding to a halt? Has the opposition to Turkish membership by some European leaders caused Turkey to slow-down the reform process, or was it Ankara’s lack of resolve? Can Turkey’s important new geo-political role in the region be an asset for the European Union? These issues, among others, have been the focus of the Independent Commission on Turkey, a group of distinguished European policy-makers formed for the purpose of examining the challenges and opportunities presented by Turkey’s possible accession to the EU.
On September 23, the Center on the United States and Europe at Brookings (CUSE) hosted a member of the Independent Commission on Turkey, Nobel Peace Laureate and former President of Finland Martti Ahtisaari, for a discussion of the new report, “Turkey in Europe: Breaking the Vicious Circle.”
Brookings President Strobe Talbott made introductory remarks. Brookings nonresident Fellow Omer Taspinar, director of CUSE’s Turkey Project, moderated the discussion. After the program, panelists took audience questions.