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Turkey, EU can't seem to walk away from each other

The fact that Turkey sits on the most strategic real estate in the world ensures that the EU can’t put its ties with Ankara at risk, regardless of objections to Turkey's politics.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (L) shakes hands with European Council President Donald Tusk before a meeting at the European Council in Brussels, Belgium, May 25, 2017.  REUTERS/Olivier Hoslet/Pool - RTX37KKO

Turkey is clearly experiencing unprecedented tension with the European Union (EU), which — technically speaking — it is in line to join as a full member provided it fulfills the necessary criteria. That appears an almost impossible prospect, however, given what is transpiring in Turkey, let alone the state of a Europe in flux.

This has not prevented both sides from keeping up the pretense of continuing with Ankara’s membership talks, even though these have produced nothing in recent years. The simple fact is that for all the talk—and threats from both sides about ending membership negotiations and severing ties — Turkey and the EU are unable to walk away from each other for practical reasons.

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