Ankara between TTIP and EU’s Customs Union

Ankara between TTIP and EU’s Customs Union

Baku, Azerbaijan, May 18

By Rufiz Hafizoglu - Trend:

All of Turkey's attempts to become a full member of the European Union today are still unsuccessful.

In one of his recent statements, Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan reiterated that his country's accession to the EU remains a major priority for Ankara. However earlier, Erdogan said Ankara is not interested in joining the EU, and Turkey can completely freeze relations with it.

When thoroughly examining the relations between Turkey and the EU, it can be said that the EU membership is necessary for Turkey first of all for the country's democratization.

"While Turkey is building its relations with the EU on the principles of democracy and human rights, the EU has not yet decided on the principles of its relations with Ankara," say the Turkish authorities. "It is one of the main problems between the parties."

Back in January, Turkey's Minister for EU Affairs Volkan Bozkir made a statement that in the next two or three years, Turkey will finally be ready to become a full member of the EU.

Today, Turkey's economic policy includes the development of the economy in every way and attracting investors into the country from abroad.

Ankara is also developing its defense industry, which is an indicator of serious ambitions of the country. Today, the level of Turkey's self-sufficiency in the defense industry stands at 54 percent.

In January, Bozkir also called on the EU to start a new, economic, phase of negotiations.

Today, five months after this call, Bozkir said that the EU and Turkey are beginning an economic dialogue.

"The economic relations are in the interests of both sides," he said. "Taking this into account, the sides decided to start an economic dialogue."

In his turn, the European Commissioner for Neighborhood Policy and Enlargement Johannes Hahn said that the European Commission is considering the issue of modernizing the EU-Turkey Customs Union.

Of course, the modernization of this Union is more important than an economic dialogue between the sides.

Turkey has been a member of the European Union Customs Union since 1995. In this regard, it is obliged to reduce customs duties for the EU countries. Moreover, at present, the EU and the US intend to sign an agreement on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), which primarily would harm Turkey.

After the signing of this agreement, US goods will be delivered duty free to the Turkish market. This means that Ankara will lose billions of dollars.

The negotiations on TTIP began in July 2013. The nine rounds of these negotiations have been held so far. The tenth round is scheduled for July 13-17, 2015. The US and the EU are expected to solve the issue of signing the agreement on TTIP.

It is not ruled out that if the EU does not modernize the Customs Union with Turkey and signs an agreement on TTIP, Turkey will leave the European Union Customs Union, as the country's authorities previously warned.

Edited by CN

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Rufiz Hafizoglu is the head of Trend Agency's Arabic news service, follow him on Twitter: @rhafizoglu

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