It's been heartening in recent weeks to see much more critical comment about Turkey in the German press. There have been calls from major public figures to cut official ties with Turkish intelligence organisations and with DITIB, the Turkish association that dominates the Islamic establishment in Germany, running many mosques and providing a communitarian voice similar to that of the Muslim Council of Britain.
The Austrian government is now calling for Turkey's EU membership application to be suspended. This has given rise to a discussion that has revealed more about what would be involved in this. Previously, I believed that any single EU member could veto Turkey's application to join. And this claim was made during the Brexit debate. But it may not be that simple. Juncker has been lying to make it seem more difficult.
The hurdles for a stop to the EU accession negotiations with Turkey are lower than previously indicated by the EU Commission. According to the information of the Deutschen Presse-Agentur, it was defined in the guidelines for the negotiations in 2005 that a qualified majority was enough for a temporary cessation of the negotiations. According to this, only 16 of a total of 28 countries must consent to a corresponding request, if these countries represent at least 65% of all citizens in the Union.
The Commission, which is arguing for continuation of the accession negotiations previously emphasised that a request to break off the discussions had to be supported by all 28 EU states. "All member states must decided - and it has to be unanimous - that these negotiations should be cancelled," said EU Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker at the start of the month in an ARD Interview.
... In response to a question from the Deutschen Presse-Agentur, the EU Commission said that, in his statements, Juncker did not refer to the negotiation guidelines. He was speaking about the definitive end of the negotiation discussions, that is actually not anticipated. At the same time it was confirmed that a qualified majority was enough for a decision to break off discussions temporarily in accordance with Article 5 of the negotiation guidelines.Source
If true, this means that it will effectively be impossible to terminate Turkey's EU membership application completely. It is almost impossible to imagine that there will ever be unity on the issue, especially with the American government continually pressuring for Turkey's acceptance into the bloc. The best that can be hoped for is that Turkey will itself withdraw its application or that it will be held in permanent suspension.
Article 5 says this:
In the case of a serious and persistent breach in Turkey of the principles of liberty, democracy, respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms and the rule of law on which the Union is founded, the Commission will, on its own initiative or on the request of one third of the Member States, recommend the suspension of negotiations and propose the conditions for eventual resumption.