Since spring of 2013, Turkey has experienced a period of political turmoil which side effects have unavoidably affected the economy of the country. Whilst domestic politics are in a tense atmosphere and the Lira has dropout considerably against the Euro and the Dollar, the EU anxiously observes the whole situation.
Therefore, on the basis of the EU-Turkey pivotal relationship, UNITEE organised the 19th of February an expert roundtable to elaborate and debate the current situation, gathering the following stakeholders and experts from the field of international relations and trade:
- Mr Adem KUMCU, President of UNITEE, Chairperson of the Expert Meeting
- Mr Jean-Christophe FILORI, Head of Unit Directorate Turkey, DG Enlargement
- Mr Philippe DE BACKER, MEP and investor
- Mr Selcuk GÜLTASLI, correspondent at Zaman Media Group
The weakening of the Turkish Lira, the increasing inflation and the political turmoil are raising concerns among UNITEE’s members. Mr KUMCU expressed the spread out distress, and fears this would have a negative impact on the business climate and investments in Turkey. People are fretfully awaiting the upcoming Turkish and European elections and how the outcomes of these will affect the relationship between the two powers. Mr FILORI pointed out that even though positive reforms efforts took place in Turkey last year 2013, the country is not moving towards the correct direction economically and politically speaking; instability is growing.
The roundtable participants predict a distant full recovery. In the short term, the increasing criticism and political distress can only portray a negative perspective on the matter, since uncertainty, volatility and instability are clearly present. Yet, the long run perspective conveys a more positive view involving a greater balance and stability and where the economy will have overcome the current hiccups. Thus, in order to boost this recovery, they believe that integrating Turkey better in the decision making process is essential and that, as Mr GÜLTASLI asserted, the European Commission stands out as the best advocate of the relationship between the European Union and Turkey. Therefore, it is increasingly important in monitoring the country on the process of accession.
Furthermore, Mr DE BACKER confidently asserted that Turkey is a great investment opportunity for Europe, especially in the future. It stands out as an emerging country which is raising well educated citizens, building a strong base of engineers, and serving Europe as a bridge in many aspects.
Regardless of the different perspectives, all participants clearly agreed that, setting aside all the challenges going on, the degree of interdependence between these two powers is considerably high. The EU is too important for Turkey and Turkey is too important for the EU, to simply walk away from each other.