Monday, December 20, 2004

Turkey and the European Union: Cui Bono?

The European Union decided last week to start negotiations with Turkey over that country's possible accession into the EU. The decision has generated a variety of takes on just whose interests would be served by the success or failure of the talks. Here is a sample:
Denmark's national symbol, the Little Mermaid sculpture perched on a rock at a Copenhagen pier, was draped in a burka and a sash reading 'Turkey in the EU?' overnight(AFP/Scanpix/Kristian Linnemann)


Morocco's L'Economiste newspaper claimed that if the European Union should eventually refuse membership to Turkey that a chasm between the West and the Muslim world would be created that would mark a victory for Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden:
"Osama bin Laden and his followers are seeking to provoke this split," wrote the paper, adding: "Rejection of Turkey's candidacy would be seen around the world as a deliberate attempt to rupture ties with the Muslim world.
"It would be a huge victory for bin Laden and other fanatics. It would be as if they had succeeded in force-feeding the entire world the doctrine that religious differences determine political and strategic choices," the paper wrote. [" Rejection of Turkey in EU Would be a Victory for Bin-Laden," Turkish Weekly]

Defense & Foreign Affairs Daily sees the Turkish General Staff as resisting compliance over Cyprus in an effort to keep a separate sovereignty for Turkey. ["The EU and Turkey Reach a Watershed Which May See Cyprus Remain Divided and EU Expansion Halted," Analysis by Gregory R. Copley, Defense & Foreign Affairs Daily, December 20, 2004.]
Turkey and the EU will inevitably continue the facade of ongoing negotiations, and the EU-Turkey relationship will, of necessity, become in some important respects closer and more efficient than in the past, but many Turkish officials in the General Staff will start the process of breathing a collective sigh of relief that Turkey and its pan-Turkist dream have not been swallowed into the essentially hostile and homogenizing maw of Western Europe.

The Government of the Republic of Cyprus no doubt also drew breath with the knowledge that it did not have to confront Turkey directly, nor need to threaten use of a veto on Turkish accession; the EU process itself clearly demanded that Turkey abide by EU rulings on the mutual recognition by all member states of the sovereignty of all other member states. However, if the watershed does indeed see Turkey move to re-focus on its own sovereign destiny, outside the EU, then it will also become clear that the lure of EU membership was not sufficient to force Turkey to withdraw its 40,000 troops from their northern Cyprus occupation.

The result will now most likely be that Turkey does not move ahead with EU entry, does not recognize the Republic of Cyprus, and continues to occupy northern Cyprus.
Libya's leader Moammar Gadhafi maintained that Osama bin Laden would welcome an accession by Turkey into the EU. [Turkish Weekly: Gadhafi Agrees with ‘EU's Turkey-Sceptics’]
Gadhafi: "Turkey will be a Trojan Horse for the EU"
Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi has said it would be dangerous for the European Union to admit Turkey as a member state, calling the accession bid a "Trojan horse" for Islamic militants like Osama bin Laden.
"As far as the Islamic world is concerned -- including the Islamic extremists, even bin Laden -- they're rejoicing over the entry of Turkey in the European Union. This is their Trojan horse," he was quoted as saying by the Italian media. "I'm saying only what will happen with the entry of the horse into Troy," Gadhafi added in comments published on the day EU leaders met in Brussels to discuss whether to begin accession talks with the secular but overwhelmingly Muslim Turkey.
Gadhafi made his comments in an interview with RAI television, which is due to be aired on Friday. A transcript was printed on Thursday in Italy's La Repubblica daily.
Libya is in the US List of State Sponsors of Terrorism, and Libyan leader accepted Libya’s role in many terrorist attacks in the past.
Meanwhile, in Denmark, pranksters responded to the news of the EU's planned initiation of talks with Turkey by draping a burka over the Little Mermaid statue.

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|| headland, 3:25 AM

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