Since the early 2000s, the European Union (EU) has seen that it has lagged behind especially in the technological field when compared to the USA and China, and its former colonial wealth has started to melt away slowly. The EU, which created programs to correct this, could not implement them due to the 2007 and 2008 financial crises, and in the 2010s the migration crisis was blocked.
EU strategists realized that a revolution, a growth strategy was needed to advance the lagging European industry and came up with the twin transformation called “Green Deal and Digital Agenda”.
This interconnected growth strategy required a large budget. In addition, the EU had to give up its main sources of nuclear power and coal. While solutions were being considered, the Kovid-19 epidemic emerged. In this process, especially Italy, Spain, Portugal and Greece entered into economic difficulties. In order to prevent the economies from collapsing due to the epidemic, the EU Commission chose the joint borrowing method. It was decided that the huge budget of 800 billion Euros that emerged in this way would be used mostly in digitalization and green transformation.
– RUSSIA ATTACKS UKRAINE WHILE THE TWIN TRANSFORMATION IS ACCELERATION
Parallel to the twin transformation process, on the one hand, discussions on strategic autonomy in security, envisaging independence from the USA, began. At the same time, the goal of getting rid of foreign dependency in energy was also discussed. The key here was to switch from hydrocarbon to renewable energy and hydrogen production. It was at this time that the Russia-Ukraine war began.
Some commentators cite not only political motives, such as the possibility of Kiev joining NATO, but also the EU’s efforts towards energy and economic transformation as the cause of the war in Ukraine. As a matter of fact, it is considered that Russia started the war with the thought that when its dependence on hydrocarbon resources ends, the EU, which will not need it, will become a center of attraction and it will be easier for it to attract countries such as Ukraine or Georgia. As a result, the EU’s transfer of resources to the war has hampered green transformation and digitalization efforts.
Meanwhile, different dynamics emerge within the EU. The election in Italy is one of the most obvious examples of this. After the far-right comes to power in Italy, the third largest economy of the EU, there are uncertainties such as how there will be discussions within the Union, and whether currents like Brexit will emerge. In the future, if a similar situation spreads to a country like Germany, which is considered the locomotive of the EU, where it will evolve is of great importance for the future of the Union.
– ENERGY AND FOOD IS NOW A SECURITY ISSUE FOR EUROPE
In addition to the importance of energy as the main element of green transformation and digitalization, food security is of great importance for the future of the EU. Because the reactions of nature such as drought and flood caused by climate change create problems in food supply. It has been seen in the Ukraine war that energy and food are now security issues for the EU, which is considering how to spend the winter today.
– EU CAN MAKE A BIG LEAP AFTER THE WAR
On the one hand, the war in Ukraine presents opportunities for the EU. The war will not last forever and it will end one day. In the meantime, if the EU accelerates its investments to get rid of dependency in energy, it can make a big leap in the next 5-10 years.
The lesson of Germany, which has the largest economy in the Union, from the war in Ukraine is that it needs to get rid of its energy dependence on Russia. In order to address energy independence, solutions such as the green energy class of nuclear and the reuse of coal are being brought up. In this process, although the USA tries to direct Europe to LNG, the EU seems to be in search of hydrocarbons. It also strives to open up to regions such as Africa, Central Asia and Latin America. In order to achieve all these, it needs technological and economic superiority.
The short-term goal of the EU is to spend this winter and be prepared for the next winter. While doing this, he will focus on self-sufficiency in food and energy. The game changer he needs here is technology. The EU is developing its long-term strategies in this direction. After all, the green and digital transformation that is currently slowing down with the Ukraine war may gain further momentum in the post-war period.
– EU NEEDS COOPERATION WITH TURKEY
Turkey is of decisive importance in energy and food security, and in the continuity of supply chains. It carries this decisive role further with its work in scientific research and technology. Due to the current political bottleneck in Turkey-EU relations, new high-level dialogue channels are being established that will meet the needs of the day and are in line with mutual interests. For example, high-level contacts at ministerial level, such as the High Level Dialogue Meeting on Science, Research, Technology and Innovation to be held on November 15, open new horizons in Turkey-EU relations. In addition, the newly initiated dialogue process on agriculture is starting to come to the fore with food security. It is seen that high-level dialogues in the fields of climate and health are also areas of cooperation in accordance with the spirit of the time.
It is said that the EU’s recent criticisms of Turkey stem from the situation it is in. The assessment that some segments feel uncomfortable because of Turkey’s increase in its regional and global power, its role in the war in Ukraine, its influence in the Caucasus, and its increasing work in the fields of energy and food, and that they have begun to highlight the issues in the Aegean and the Mediterranean against Turkey, is getting stronger. Behind these assessments lies the concern that Turkey’s increasing global role will open the gap with Greece not only in the military field, but also in the field of economy and technology. The use of unmanned aerial vehicles, which have been a source of pride for Turkey in recent years, not only in the defense industry, but also in other fields such as agriculture, the development of vehicles that will fly with hydrogen fuel for 80 minutes instead of 20 minutes, and similar technological studies gain great importance at this point. It is emphasized that such studies of the private sector are carried out and accelerated with the public and academia, and that Turkish entrepreneurs and the private sector have a great awareness of the importance of such studies and especially energy.
Another area of cooperation between the EU and Turkey is migration. Many scientists agree that migration movements due to climate change and drought will occur in the coming years, apart from factors such as war and internal conflict. In order to be prepared for this, the importance of promoting Turkey-EU cooperation on migration is emphasized. Turkey and EU delegations are currently working to develop projects in the field of border management.
The main issue here is that Europe’s security in all areas starts from Turkey, because the illusion is tried to be created that Europe’s security starts from the Mediterranean and the Aegean. However, the EU needs Turkey in serious issues such as the fortification of supply chains, energy and food security, migration and climate change. Without concrete and serious cooperation with Turkey, it is difficult to reach the desired levels in these matters. “The EU has to understand that it has no chance of succeeding in immigration by building a wall at the borders.” assessment remains valid.
– A WISDOM IS REQUIRED TO LOOK AT TURKEY WITH COMMON SENSE, NOT PREJUDICE
After all, it seems that the main challenges for the EU in the coming period will be food production and security, energy and migration. The EU’s cooperation with Turkey will be decisive in order to overcome them.
If the EU goes to unilateral arrangements to find short-term solutions to the problems, it may insulate the Union on the current slippery ground. Therefore, cooperation with Turkey is important for the EU in the future. Moreover, in addition to being an active actor in the Middle East, Central Asia, Caucasus, and the Balkans, Turkey’s 85 million people can reach from the Middle East to Central Asia, from Africa to Latin America with its versatile foreign policy. It should not be forgotten that it is a NATO ally and EU candidate country.
Establishing relations with a country such as Turkey, which has valuable characteristics, with a pragmatic approach and a spirit of cooperation, not with prejudice and the narrow-minded and one-sided perspective of some EU members, will also benefit the EU. A mind and common sense should emerge that is not disturbed by Turkey’s achievements, does not perceive it as a threat, but has the will to use these achievements for common interests.