Turkey wishes to preserve strong ties with the European Union. The European Political Community is holding its first meeting on Thursday 6 October in Prague, the Czech capital. This community “would allow the democratic European nations adhering to our base of values, to find a new space for political cooperation, security, cooperation”, explained the French head of state in Strasbourg on 9 May. In addition to the member countries of the European Union, 17 countries are participating in this summit, including Turkey, Switzerland and Serbia. Ukraine will also be represented.
If the presence of Turkey provokes debate, President Erdogan will be present. Turkey was keen on this invitation, Recep Tayip Erdogan wants to be in the European family photo. The main condition for Ankara was that this new political community should not be an alternative to membership. The Turkish president believes he has been confirmed in this analysis. According to Ankara, it was unthinkable to exclude Turkey from a summit to which Ukraine, Armenia or even Azerbaijan and Georgia are invited. So many countries in the region, bordering Turkey or in which Turkish diplomacy is very involved.
Turkey wanted to be there, but for all that, no progress in its path towards integration within the European Union has been unveiled. The process is indeed seized up, both on the customs union and on the issuance of visas. Only the refugee package is still in force. The rule of law in Turkey does not allow progress to be made: justice is under orders, the press muzzled, prisons full of intellectuals accused of plotting against the state, women’s rights curtailed. However, no reform is in sight in this regard. But Turkey does not want to break the bridges, moreover there would be too high a political cost for any Turkish government which would put an end to the process of accession to the EU.
In addition, Erdogan will take advantage of his visit to Prague to further refine his image as a regional diplomat. An appointment has already been made with Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian, tensions remain very high between Yerevan and Azerbaijan. He will no doubt have the opportunity for other asides. For example, Turkey has still not ratified the accession of Sweden and Finland to NATO.