Turkey’s desire to foster stronger links with the European defence establishment is being frustrated by an apparent reluctance from the European Union (EU) to fully engage with the country, a senior government official said on 2 December.

Speaking at the 13th annual Berlin Security Conference (BSC) in the German capital city, Turkey’s defence minister Ismet Yilmaz said that the country has proven its commitment to co-operating with Europe through its membership of NATO and other governmental and military institutions, but that this is not being fully reciprocated.

“Turkey has always supported partnerships and EU/NATO relations, and attached great importance to those relations. Turkey has actively supported the development of the EU’s Common Security & Defence Policy from the outset, both as a candidate country and as a NATO ally, and Turkey has taken part in all of the European operations to which it has been invited. Turkey has also shown her willingness and determination to support the EU initiatives in developing its defence capabilities, including the formation in 2010 of the European Defence Agency [EDA] battle groups,” he said. […]