The European Union is to declare Turkey as being essential for the prosperity and security of the area, but is still critical of Ankara’s failure to make progress towards accession. These issues are to be raised in the EU’s draft strategy paper, the Enlargement Strategy Paper which is due to be released on October 10th. Although the paper has praise for Turkey’s involvements in foreign policies and energy, it still feels that more needs to be done in term of the media, and for freedom of expression.
In addition the paper does acknowledge the importance of Turkey to the EU, which is at least partially due to its dynamic economy and geographical location. During the last two years, no new chapter has been opened for Turkey’s accession to the EU, which is something seen as being regrettable by the report. In spite of this Turkey has been seen to play a positive role in supporting reform in countries such as the Middle East and North Africa.
Areas of particular concern are over Turkey’s lack of real progress towards meeting political criteria, and over the issue of fundamental rights. There are also a growing number of court cases against journalists and writers as the media is still restricted. The EU is planning to hold a “Speak Up” conference during the second half of next year that will follow on from the first of these types of conferences that was held in May 2011.
The Enlargement Strategy Paper is produced every year, and is to explain the EU’s policy on enlargement, reporting on the progress made by each candidate country, and potential candidate country.