One week before the European Council meeting, Turkey watchers witnessed a member of the Turkish Parliament from the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) and a human rights defender, Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu, got controversially convicted for a social media post. Then, country’s top prosecutor filed a case with the constitutional court demanding the closure of HDP, Turkey’s third largest party. Following that, with a late-night decree Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan decided to withdraw Turkey from Council of Europe’s Istanbul Convention, which aims preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence. The same night, the governor of the Central Bank was sacked just after four months in office while he was being praised internationally for returning to mainstream monetary policies.
All these developments put European leaders in a difficult position right before the European Council meeting. The dilemma between promoting values and focusing on interests –an historical division in external relations– was once again present. The differences between EU institutions and member states complicated the picture even more. Before exploring these complexities, however, it is important to ask two questions.
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