2010 was a poor year for Turkey-EU relations. Links between Turkey and the EU were not cut in 2010. Neither did they strengthen. If you were to picture years as shots on a line of film, you could cut out 2010 and connect 2009 and 2011; no one would notice the difference. In the ongoing negotiations which will determine the future of relations between the EU and Turkey only the chapter on food safety, veterinary care and plant health was opened in 2010. The EU seemingly continued its support for Turkey.
It supported the reforms in Turkey. It saw the amendments to the constitution as positive and demanded a new constitution. Furthermore it was in deeper contact with Ankara over foreign policy issues. Yet there were no developments. In fact the EU pretended to carry out negotiations with Turkey throughout 2010. In January 2010, Stefan Füle, member of the European Commission in charge of Enlargement and Neighbour Relations, had promised “progress in Turkey’s accession negotiations”. There were mutual visits throughout 2010. Many meetings were held. There were press meetings and statements.
In June 2010, the EU Commission stated “we are doing our best to carry forward the negotiations”. Otherwise, there were no significant developments. It is possible that no one should have hoped for anything more. For the promise of “progress in negotiations with Turkey” meant nothing among statements proclaiming the “financial crisis is lightening, it will be over” and “statistics have improved, the economy is recovering”. 2010 was a year which left no mark whatsoever in relations between Turkey and the EU.
Things were ripe for better developments. Yet relations between Turkey and the EU, which have been progressing as a soap opera would, do not develop because of the brakes Brussels is putting on. It seems 2011 will be no different than 2010. Only one point may be made in such a case: Turkish-EU relations have become locked down. Brussels’ blockage is degenerating the accession negotiations.
It is possible that this process will continue until mid-2012. When in July 2012 South Cyprus takes on the EU Council Term Presidency, it will expire. In other words, after a long time the wheel has spent turning in the air, the engine will finally fall silent.