Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) was initially rewarded by the European Union for changing Turkey’s Kemalist state ideology, but Kemalism has simply been replaced by Islamism, a British member of the European Parliament told Hurriyet Daily News.
MEP Andrew Duff, who is also a member of the EU-Turkey Joint Parliamentary Committee, added that Turkey’s accession to the EU is now no longer possible under the AKP.
“The prospects for making any further substantive progress under the AKP government have ended. I have, like many in Turkey and here, put great confidence in the AKP to break the old regime and at first they did that,” Duff told the Turkish daily.
He added, in reference to the blurring line between religion and politics under the AKP’s leadership, that “As a liberal I object to that wherever I find that; in Christianity as well.”
Asked whether he regrets how the relationship between Turkey and the EU has turned out, Duff said: “actually my disappointment is now greater because of the positive signals that they had sent out in the early years.”
“I think that they have changed and power does that to people. It would be a surprise in a sense if it did not as an old party in government,” he added.
But perhaps most importantly, Duff believes that Erdogan is the main culprit in Turkey’s failure to accede to the EU.
“I don’t think Mr. Erdoğan has the slightest intention of being engaged with the EU in that sense I don’t think he really understands what the EU is. He sees it as a club that he would quite like to be a member off. But he does not understand it is in fact a system of government that is federal, pluralistic, secular, and far reaching, ” he said.