Foreign Affairs

Ahtisaari criticizes EU over Turkish accession process

Pres Ahtisaari with Kunal Majumder
Pres Ahtisaari with Kunal Majumder

A group of distinguished European politicians is likely to criticize European Union countries for hindering Turkey’s attempts to become a member of the 27-nation bloc, according to former Finnish President Martti Ahtisaari, who heads the group.

Ahtisaari, who leads the Independent Commission on Turkey, said his group will have to take a critical look at certain EU member states when it releases its next report later this year. “In the second report, which we are going to release in September, we look into not only what Turkey does, but also at what the EU and some of the individual members are doing.

If some member states are blocking some of the major sectors, then we have to take a critical look at that. So I wouldn’t be surprised if we would be saying some critical things about Turkey and some EU member states, as well,” he said in an interview.

The Independent Commission on Turkey was formed in 2004 by a group of European policy makers to examine the challenges and opportunities presented by Turkey’s possible membership in the EU. The commission is made up of Europeans who have previously held high positions in public office. This week European Commission Vice President Günter Verheugen also criticized the EU for failing to give a clear signal to Ankara on its entry prospects, saying a reduced will for reform in Ankara was not surprising because the EU’s stance led to questions in Turkey about the bloc’s sincerity.

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