The Turkish Minister for European Affairs, Volkan Bozkir, highlighted his country’s important in containing the Syria crisis and the fight against Islamic State (IS) and all this in the context of Turkey’s accession to the European Union. During a meeting in the French Parliament earlier this week, Mr. Bozkir reaffirmed the Turkish position on the fight against Islamic State militants during the time when Turkey was widely criticized by the international coalition fighting against the IS for playing an ambiguous role in the international campaign to uproot and destroy the brutal IS jihadists. Turkey officially joined the international military coalition only at the beginning of October after its Parliament authorized the mobilization of Turkish forces in two of its neighboring countries and the deployment of foreign troops in its territory. Turkey also recently opened its border and allowed Kurdish Peshmerga forces to reach the adjacent town of Kobané to help the besieged population.
The Turkish Minister for European Affairs also announced that Turkey would be prepared to follow European countries if they finally went ahead and put their troops on the ground to fight IS. He then expressed the belief that Europe has a duty to develop broader support for the fight against IS, and that the French, British and perhaps also Turkish armies should be more proactive and provide training to the Syrians and Iraqis. In a related but separate development, Mr. Volkan Bozkir reiterated his country’s interest in joining the EU by stressing that “Turkey wants to become a member of the European Union and benefit from the economic advantages enjoyed by certain other countries.” The Turkish President, Recep Tayyip Erdo?an, has recently been accused of authoritarianism by his opponents at home but also by some European leaders. Accession negotiations were opened with Turkey a couple of years ago, but of the 35 negotiation chapters, 13 are currently open and only 1 has been finalized. The other chapters have been blocked by France and Cyprus, whose Northern half has been under occupation by Turkish troops since 1974.