The EU is Damaging its Credibility Over Turkey
Authoritarian leaders do not simply come and go. And when they do go, they rarely go quietly.
The test of an autocrat like Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan isn't how he came to power, but how he treats critics, journalists, minorities, and whether his rule can go unchecked by constitutional limits, CNN comments.
Ever since April's flawed referendum -- in which a narrow majority of Turkish voters supported constitutional changes that would create an executive presidential system -- any hope for the democratic removal of Erdoğan has gone.
In response to this, the European Union -- which Turkey has been negotiating to become a full member of since 2005 -- is now "reflecting on whether to cut and re-orient" pre-accession funding: money that nations receive in order to help meet the legal requirements of joining the bloc.
This is a potentially significant shift in strategy toward Turkey -- a long-term key partner to the EU.
Yet the caution with which they proceed also reveals European leaders' reluctance to damage cooperation on certain policy areas -- from security to migration -- the risk of which Erdoğan keeps reminding them.
The EU and Turkish authorities have been playing a game of chicken over which side will be the first to pull the plug on Turkey's accession process.
Whether by deferring to the judgment of other international organizations or by waiting for Erdoğan to make good on his campaign bluster -- to organize a "Trexit" referendum or worse, bring back the death penalty -- the EU has ducked responsibility and lost credibility.
The EU should have already concluded that Turkey is in breach of the criteria for membership. It's not hard to see that Erdoğan has crossed multiple red lines.
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