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EU pause Turkey’s dreams
by Thanos Kalamidas
2006-09-26 12:04:22
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It wasn't a surprise for the ones who follow what’s going on inside the EU offices when the president of the EU commission, Jose Manuel Barroso, called for a pause in the EU enlargement after Bulgaria and Romania join, pointing the finger at Turkey.

ovi_turkey01Naturally, Mr. Barroso didn’t mention Turkey, but after Bulgaria and Romania the only two other countries who are in the queue are Croatia, with all the problems that include fugitives for the international court, and Turkey. The president’s words were, “There is no formal decision, but I think it would be unwise to bring in other member states apart from Bulgaria and Romania, I do think it would not be wise to proceed with any enlargement before we have resolved the constitutional issue in Europe.” Before adding at the end, “I would like Croatia to join as quickly as possible, if it fulfills the criteria.”

The bitter truth is that all the countries that have joined in the last enlargement had barely fulfilled the criteria and Europe will have to deal with this in the future, but they are on the way there. However, there is one candidate country that doesn't even have the will to fulfill the criteria, a country that, among others, has serious problems with democracy. A country where the army threatens a coup when something doesn’t work according to their plans, a country where human rights are only in the imagination of the prime minister and where an author can be threatened with prison because a fictional character in one of her books dared to talk about a historical fact, the Armenian genocide. This is far from anything Europe represents.

If you add to the fact that Turkey doesn’t want to recognize a full member of the EU and refuses them the right of existence, occupying a part of their land with an army then there isn’t much to talk about. Obviously a lot of members, including Greece and Cyprus, hoped that the need to join the EU would change something inside Turkey. The only thing that changed for the better was the economy, but even for that there are doubts.

Turkey was given every chance to prove herself over the past two years. Promises were often made by the Turkish prime minister and his ministers, but they disappeared after a few days under the pressure of the army. If that was not enough, Turkey kept playing the blind card of the Muslim country, which the Turkish prime minister often used as the best reason for the EU to accept Turkish candidacy.

ovi_turkey02His words were, "The EU must prove that they are open to a Muslim country," but the question everybody was thinking and never saying out loud was whether Turkey is ready for the EU. They wanted to know if Turkey was willing to escape from the old Ottoman methods and join a democratic union, where a coalition of democracies make decisions and the army stays in the barracks.

How can a country talk about friendly relations with its neighbors while there is the threat of a Casus Belli with Greece, an EU member country, and obviously a threat with occupation over another, Cyprus? Mr. Barroso didn’t mention Turkey but everybody could see the finger pointing east.

After a brief delay caused by Olli Rehn, the man responsible for EU enlargement, Turkey would have had to face these questions sometime in October. They had to face and deal with a report that looked like a guillotine for a country that hadn’t done anything to get a fraction closer to the EU criteria. Democracy is a huge part of this criterion and with the army vetoing the democratic elected government nobody could stand further away.

Everybody had started to suspect that the next move, after Mr. Rehn would announce the delay, would be to 'pause' Turkey's candidacy because everybody felt that the Finnish presidency was not willing to deal with a straight rejection. My use of the word 'pause' moves Turkish hopes far into the future, except if something dramatic happens over the next few months, if not weeks – and saying that, a coup is definitely out of question – otherwise Turkey will have to learn that nothing is more permanent than the temporary.

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Thanos2006-09-26 21:54:34
The Turkish goverment presented a laughable report, 32 pages explaining that they were not going to recognize Cyprus and expecting EU to find a way out!!! What comment can you do to that!!!

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