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Turkish Protests Provide Electroshock to EU Ties

The Gezi Park protest brought Turkey-EU ties to the brink of collapse, but at the same time had the impact of “electroshock therapy” on Turkey’s stalled accession process.
Anti-government protesters, who call themselves ''anti-capitalist Muslims'', shout slogans during a demonstration in Istanbul June 23, 2013. The European Union is on the verge of scrapping a new round of membership talks with Turkey, a move that would further undermine Ankara's already slim hopes of joining the bloc and damage its relations with Brussels. Germany, the EU's biggest economic power, is blocking efforts to revive Turkey's EU membership bid, partly because of its handling of anti-government prot
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“Turkey does not need the EU, but the EU needs Turkey. If need be, we know very well how to tell those countries, ‘Buzz off, mate!’ The EU needs Turkey more than Turkey needs the EU.” Those sharp words belong to Turkey’s EU Minister Egemen Bagis. And they were not uttered in a casual chat. The statement was relayed to journalists by Bagis’ press office on June 19 under the title “If need be, we’ll tell EU countries ‘Buzz off, mate!’”

In a second statement that arrived shortly thereafter in my email box, Bagis reminded German Chancellor Angela Merkel of former French president Nicholas Sarkozy’s electoral debacle after she signaled she would block the opening of a new chapter in Turkey’s membership talks.

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