On 17th June, N. Gros-Verheyde published a post on the EU battlegroups, which still meet some difficulties for being committed. I will not discuss on the usability of those units, might it be from a political point of view.
In fact I would consider as any average citizen the readability of the Turkish presence within those battlegroups. Firstly governments always say that Defence is at the core of sovereignty, and that is one of the reasons for which European Defence cannot progress. So easily, on the other side, a great and major country, not EU member, takes part to it, although, formally it cannot attend the EU Council meetings where a decision for the commitment of the battlegroup could be met.
Furthermore, due to the disagreement on Cyprus issue, EU security clearance cannot be granted to Turkish soldiers. How could they plan and operate within the military structure, without having, already in peacetime some jobs? Many points show that this participation is not driven by military efficiency and not designed to become effective.
I would regard it exclusively as, either a heritage of the Turkish long time and patient candidature to the EU and as a way to show that the door is not closed. Furthermore, this is as well the illustration that some European countries still do not envisage to reject Turkish candidature and would like it to go forward, including in the field of Defence. The fact that this battlegroup raises some operational issues is as well the proof that European Countries did not agree yet to make it usable.
The only question would be the following: does really Turkish role in the battlegroups reinforce the concept or does it weaken it? If the EU wants its battlegroups really usable one day, it will have to let the citizen know what importance it gives to the efficiency of such units.
I would just add one remark: from a military pint of view I would not dare expressing a single criticism on the military value of the Turkish Defence Forces. They really constitute a major partner in the area.Author : f.