LibLInk: Edward McMillan Scott: Turkey’s EU membership will remain in the EU’s deep freeze, no matter what Leave says

The Leave campaign continue to peddle the lie that Turkey is about to join the EU.

This is not going to be happening any time soon despite the disgraceful leaflet which shows the 76 million figure and an arrow going straight from Turkey to Britain (and actually in Scotland, the arrow pointed to Scotland).

Former Liberal Democrat MEP Edward McMillan has outlined the issues surrounding Turkey’s application in an article on

Turkey has always been a divisive issue for the Tories, whose Ukip tendency see Turkey’s membership as the final nail in the EU’s coffin. I witnessed this for several years in the 1990s, when I was the European parliament’s spokesman on Turkey’s accession bid. Leading Conservative MEP Daniel Hannan has waded into the Warsi resignation debate this week. He says he asked her to join Leave and now claims she declined, although his friend, Ukip MP Douglas Carswell, told the Huffington Post that Hannan had indeed recruited her.

But internal Conservative politics aside, the fact remains that Turkey’s entry into the EU remains a very distant prospect. The EU’s response to Turkey’s often blunt courtship has traditionally been: “We don’t think either of us is ready for this yet, but let’s keep working on the relationship”. However, recent thuggish behaviour by President Erdogan’s hoodlums against any dissent to his corrupt regime has made even EU diplomats use much stronger language.

The extent to which Turkey’s imminent entry remains unlikely can be seen clearly by anyone taking the trouble to read what the EU actually says about it. Occasionally the European Commission publishes progress reports on Turkey’s internal reforms, and the latest ws characteristically hostile. It stated clearly that Turkey fails the EU’s criteria for membership, including full democracy, human rights, a free media and reliable rule of law.

This could not be any clearer. Despite what Vote Leave say, Turkey is nowhere near being in a position to join the EU. When Cameron says that Turkey’s membership is not on the horizon, he is right.

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  • Richard Underhill 16th Jul '16 - 10:56am

    When Mr. Erdogan led the AK (clean) party to a general election victory he was treated by many governments as the incoming Prime Minister of Turkey, except in Turkey. He had recited a poem “which every schoolchild knows” which debarred him. Using the parliamentary majority the rules were changed and he became Prime Minister. The army had seen themselves as the guardians of the reforms of former President Ataturk, but their role was downgraded to “advisory”. After subsequent election wins Mr. Erdogan became President of Turkey, a role he wants to change. Turkish policy towards Russia, Israel and Syria has also changed.

  • Richard Underhill 16th Jul '16 - 6:53pm

    The Turkish Prime Minister called it a “black stain on Turkish democracy”.
    In the attempted coup 161 civilians were killed, 1440 wounded, 2839 soldiers arrested, including high ranking officers.

  • Richard Underhill 19th Jul '16 - 11:12am

    When Turkey had capital punishment they captured one of the Ocalan brothers and sentenced him to death, but were told that doing so was (and is) against the acquis of the EU. They sentenced him to life imprisonment without parole. His brother arranged a calming of PKK activity. There have since been several general elections in Turkey.
    It is currently unclear whether the current government in Turkey really wants to join the EU. If so, they have a lot to do to meet the conditions of entry. Turkey has a customs union with the EU which provides for trade in goods, but does not provide free movement of people.

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