Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Turkey: the Gateway to the Inter-civilizational Dialogism in the EU

Metin Boşnak
Turkey: the Gateway to the Inter-civilizational  Dialogism in the EU
Turkey’s accession to the Eu has been a matter of hot discussions for quite a while. The heat of the debates has risen before and after what is sometimes called a seminal date, October 3rd when the Eu has decided to start accession negotiations.  Of course there is as much cynicism on both parties as the pros and cons of the turn the matter into a political and sometimes ideological seesaw.  Caricaturizing and patronizing attitudes by the EU have been often been encoutered by the Turkish side with sporadic rebuffs, and occasional self-flagellation. Though the accession talks are an arena of foreigsn affairs, it has also been a subject of domestic politics.  History has often been evoked to respond to the origins and deadlock of current problems. Thus, the diachronical survey of past events have helped only to create a synchronic oedipality in the relations.  The issues under inquiry have been so exaggerated at times that people have tended to feel as if the Holy Roman Empire and the Ottoman Empire have come alive again to reenact the historical crusades against which the Saracens fought.
  Of course, Turkey’s tantalizing accession to the EU can be approached from various angles such as economic, cultural, historical and civizational as well as  and mercurial power politics.  I want to approach the matter from a purely philosophical and theoretical angles to bring to the fore the suppositon that Turkey or whatever she represents to the Western eyes is already in the EU, and the West whatever it may represent to the Turks or the “Orient” is already inherently visibly in Turkey.  The problem here is to ask what underlies the West, which has so many ramifications in itself, and clash of cultural heritage. If the West here is used to mean the Judeao-Christian and Greko-Roman, then at least the two of the fountainheads of  Western culture origininated in the East, say the modern Middle East, and the the other two, Greko-Roman have borrowed from the so-called Eastern civilizations in their infancy, and their renaissance via the Moorish Spanish and the Ottoman civilizations, and have of course come into being  not ex nihilo  civilizations, but as melange and potpurri of earlier cultures and civilizations, which was not of course some kind of cloning, but honing down into the mill whatever grains were available, and handy and the most immediate, and it is obviously  to locate the most original civilization, the UR civilization, the most ultimate, the most ancient, if any, as far as our present knowledge of the world would allow us to fathom.  Any attempt o delve into the origins will fail to revoke any ultimate response from our archeology of knowledge, and will only unearth Janus’ Face, whose dialogical implications have been long forgotten in the wake of such policy-based concepts as “the end of history,” and “clash of civilizations.” Turkey  exactly represents the Janus’ face in that the Turkish Rebublic born out of the ashes of the defunct Ottoman Empire, which have left the traces of it civilization both in the East and West. Turkey can help dialogize between the Eureopean West, and American as well as the Middle eastern and Asian and African civilizations, which have long lost cultural contact, and, however, maintained only an interest-based, and capital-woven dialectic.
 The English terms “dialogic” and “dialogism” often refer to the concept used by the Russian philosopher Mikhail Bakhtin in his work of literary theory, The Dialogic Imagination. Bakhtin contrasts the dialogic and the “monologic” work of literature. The dialogic work carries on a continual dialogue with other works of literature. It does not merely answer, correct, silence, or extend a previous work, but informs and is continually informed by the previous work. Dialogic literature is in communication with multiple works. This is not merely a matter of influence, for the dialogue extends in both directions, and the previous work of literature is as altered by the dialogue as the present one is.
The term ‘dialogic’, however, does not just apply to literature. For Bakhtin, all language - indeed, all thought - appeared dialogic. This means that everything anybody ever says always exists in response to things that have been said before and in anticipation of things that will be said in response. We never, in other words, speak in a vacuum. As a result, all language (and the ideas which language contains and communicates) is dynamic, relational and engaged in a process of endless redescriptions of the world.
Bakhtin developed the notion in contrast with the structuralist account of language, which was centered in the notion of langue, that is, the systematic set of rules determining the well-formedness of an expression or utterance. This concept, introduced by Saussure, emphasised the notion that the code conformed by the linguistic norms must be common to all speakers for communication to be possible. This was seen as a dangerous simplification by Bakhtin, who asserted that languages are internally divided, not simply into regional dialects, but also into many different strata, corresponding to all possible axes of social division; he thus posited a minutely nuanced variety of class-, ethnia-, profession-, age- and gender-specific languages within the same code.
The question is one of objectivity, or the status of the concept of objectivity in the light of contemporary epistemological analyses influenced by the linguistically conceived subject. Can one engage in discourses which evince such notions as deferral, aporia, openendeness, unfinalizability etc. without one’s own writing being imbued with a certain anxiety, which may in fact turn out to be a form of disempowerment? When Nietzsche says, ‘there are no facts, only interpretations,’ he may have ushered in a disruption, even a rupture to use Derrida’s word, yet this rupture has not dislodged the insistence on evidence, accuracy, fidelity, factuality in which work must be framed, only that aspect of the work which might be perceived to challenge a particular structure is labelled merely interpretation. Academia itself is marked by the friction between the competing forces of heteroglossia. Relativisation in discourse is thus a weapon which can be turned against itself, because the force of signification may be sidestepped by either recontextualising it within inexhaustible systems of difference, or pointing to its (often non-existent) claims to foundation, finality, definitiveness.
A purely technical appropriation of a discourse denies its hermeneutic quality, because hermeneutics implicate us in the act of interpretation to the extent that the question why arises. Whereas the technical aspect of discourse is concerned only with questions of how. John Lechte summarises Habermas’ views on what he calls ‘purposive rationality’ in the following:
...the technical rationality which enabled capitalism to develop more diverse and complex commodity forms [is], however, incapable of producing a creditable justification of the capitalist system itself. In short, the technical understanding of science was positivistic, and therefore ultimately ideological. For it denied the hermeneutic component in science as it was practised.
If we substitute ‘discourse’ for ‘science’ we can see that technical rationality, which can be equated with the centripetal forces of language within an institution, is also capable of creating complex and diverse forms without being able to justify the institution itself. Hermeneutics at least attempts to assess motivation, on the part of the writer/speaker as well as the hearer/reader, and these are why questions. It may be that an institution is held together not only by the physical limits on its own spaces but by the discursive limits which are bound to restrict the interpretative, critical project from questioning its own status. The normative, centripetal, aspects of technical language are problematised by subject positions, either individual or collective, which announce themselves within language while enunciating from a specific position in relation to it. They are both within and yet outside language, and, as I have said, ultimately they are the prerequisite to the writing of interpretative or critical thought.
This is not to suggest that one should instead write only poetry, or hand in a series of blank sheets of paper, or abandon page numbering and ordering in all forms; but an awareness of the dual-requirements in academic writing - of expression and conformity - can initiate a vigilance in which the compromise which writing unavoidably entails begins to be thought, in which the rhetorical force or positional quality of the work is not suppressed by an illusory objectivity - the idea that there is a standpoint outside radical discursive strategies is a self-deception.
The discourse of postmodernity itself resists any aphoristic definitions. However, by the fact that it signifies ‘after modernity’ it is at odds with the assertions of the period beginning with the renaissance and ending somewhere in the middle of this century commonly termed the ‘modern era’. Among these assertions, sometimes referred to the ‘old certainties’, would be the ideas of man’s emancipation through reason, the unity of the self, and the validity of objective knowledge. Epistemologically, objectivity posits the existence of substances prior to the act of knowledge. You can readily see this for example with Leibniz’ notion of ‘simple substances’, which along with Descartes, he claims are irreducible and cannot interpenetrate nor interact; they are ‘windowless’. The high point of this would be early theories of the atom. But in the development of subatomic physics the relations between elements become so subtle that the act of measurement affects the results. We can use this as an analogy of critical theory in which the modern ideas espoused by schools such as the New Criticism and Structuralism which attempted to externalise and stabilise the systems and functions of literature in order to bolster up an idea of objectivity, and relied on similar irreducible, simple substances such as canons. The proliferation of different critical perspectives and sub-canonical genres created a situation in which to orient oneself within this seemingly inexhaustible proliferation required interpretative strategies which take into account the questions which are being asked when interrogating texts; thus, again, the act of measurement affects the results.
The main question, then, is one of being implicated, a kind of non-alibi-in-research. The distance between the subject of research and the subject doing the research is collapsed, and yet either the primacy of the individual or the traditional primacy of the collectivity can be foregrounded at the expense of its other. This is the double-bind of postmodern theory: that whilst discourses are seemingly embraced as a valid Interpretation - they can also be dismissed as merely an interpretation. Therefore, the mechanism remains in place in which, despite the supposed end of privileging, certain discourses may be privileged on the grounds of resources, status, fashion and so on.
The dialectic tension of this form is rarely accounted for in critical readings of periodicals. However, it is possible to borrow from literary theory a strategy for dealing with the periodical as a heterogeneous text. In this case, Mikhail Bakhtin’s lifelong exposition on “dialogism” and his specific analysis, “Discourse in the Novel,” investigate the juxtaposition of open and closed tendencies – what Bakhtin calls centrifugal and centripetal forces – by focusing on all language as dialogue.
The idea that all language, as the talks between Turkey and the Eu should be, is dialogic expands the definition of dialogue from our general understanding of dialogue as conversation to dialogue as the master category of communication and epistemology. Language functions in a tripartite format of self, other, and the relationship between the two, so meaning is created by the joining of the three parts rather than being invested in the author or in the readers. This relationship, however, is manifested precisely in the contradictory paths of open and closed forms. Bakhtin describes the centripetal (closed) forces of language as those that work toward “verbal–ideological centralization and unification,” while the centrifugal (open) forces stratify language into a kind of “social and historical heteroglossia” where heteroglossia recognizes each language utterance as part of a multitude of languages informed by the values of various language users (272). According to Michael Holquist’s interpretation of Bakhtin, heteroglossia can be described as the situation of a subject surrounded by the myriad responses he or she might make at any particular point, but any one of which must be framed in a specific discourse selected from the teeming thousands available. Heteroglossia is a way of conceiving the world as made up of a roiling mass of languages, each of which has its own distinct formal markers. (69)
Every text that is examined thus participates in a unitary ideological voice and in a multitude of discourses.  For periodical literature, this tension is easily seen in the meta-narrative of the journal – often controlled by the editor, publisher, and dominant contributors – and the differences invoked by the concatenation of contributors and a variety of genres. Though Bakhtin focused on describing the characteristic discourse of the novel and its functional components, much of what he said has relevance to the genre of periodicals.
Certainly as a metaphor for a periodical, dialogism is an apt description. Dialogism suggested that language could only be understood as a cultural exchange – both individual and particularized, and communal. No text was limited to the statements of the author, but rather it joined in the polyphony of social forces and other voices. Comparing the styles of novels to poetry, Bakhtin noted how poetry reflects the unity and uniqueness of the individual stance, while the novel requires the stratification of language to present a variety of characters. He identified some of the levels of language as “social dialects, characteristic group behavior, professional jargons, generic languages, languages of generations and age groups, tendentious languages, languages of authorities, of various circles and of passing fashions, [and] languages that serve the specific sociopolitical purposes of the day” (262–63). Furthermore, Bakhtin recognized that the formal markers used to distinguish the languages of heteroglossia were not limited to grammatical structure: “each [language] is grounded in a completely different principle for marking differences and for establishing units (for some this principle is functional, in others it is the principle of theme and content, in yet others it is, properly speaking, a socio-dialectological principle)” (291). Critics who use dialogism to investigate the characteristic discourse of novels typically focus on the functional markers of the movement between conversations and internal monologues and between the narrative voices and the characters’ voices, but in moving Bakhtin’s terms from the novel to the periodical, we confront new patterns of shifting markers.
Extrapolating from Bakhtin’s dialogism, we can view the composite of texts in a literary magazine as an extended dialogue. Here the stratification of language occurs not only in the grammatical units of individual sentences, but also in the thematic concerns and the varieties of genre. Within individual essays and fiction, we can still find varying mixes of voices – the dialogism of characters and narrators, the competing dictates of fashion, social behavior, or politics. Within a specific issue, we have dialogism operating between the individual entries, and over the course of a specific editorship, we will find dialogism operating at the level of meta-narrative as groups of entries reflect patterns of temperament and shared assumptions about Victorian society. Because the periodical is a composite of texts spanning a measured time frame, the analysis of language at the level of sentence syntax is not the method that best serves a global analysis of the run of accumulated issues. It is the functional markers of the overall discourse – from the changes in voice and rhetorical strategies to changes in content – that create a text comparable to Bakhtin’s dialogic novel. The periodical, therefore, manifests overtly the process of languages in its presentation of diverse selections with a unitary voice created by patterns of repetition and editorial control.
This combination of various genres and contributors creates a forum for dialogism for the readers of a magazine, which in turn suggests that dialogism is a defining feature of the genre of periodical literature. If the success of a literary magazine is the product of more than just the serialized novels, then a significant number of readers are responding to a variety of texts. Under these circumstances, the heteroglossia of competing voices – part of the open forces at work in the periodical – threatens to overwhelm the magazine, and a periodical so fragmented by heteroglossia could never sustain this audience; thus, an essential characteristic of a successful periodical is that it can set parameters on these interpretations through the construction of a meta-narrative – one of the closed forces at work in the texts. A critical understanding of the periodical that focuses solely on meta-narrative leads to an over-simplification of the periodical as a genre, while unrestrained heteroglossia misses the shared patterns of information and technique to which readers are subjected.
If this theoretical perspective is accurate, it is necessary investigate how both components of dialogism contribute to the success of Belgravia. During the ten-year run of Belgravia under Braddon (1866–1876), readers were confronted with fiction and non-fiction that can be read to form a meta-narrative characterized by “language conceived as ideologically saturated, language as a world view, even as a concrete opinion, insuring a maximum of mutual understanding in all spheres of ideological life” (271). Knowing Braddon’s reputation for sensationalism and the prevalence of sensationalism in newspaper reporting, one might suspect that it would be the defining feature of the magazine, but such is not the case. Although sensationalism plays a prominent role in Belgravia, it is not sensationalism that dominates the ideological meta-narrative, but Bohemianism. It is possible to trace a number of recurring themes and perspectives that attest to the views of the mid-Victorian Bohemians.3 What Belgravia ultimately provided was a forum for the ideologies of Bohemianism – a combination of the Bohemian good time and its freedom, with an underlying vein of social criticism.
A purely technical appropriation of a discourse denies its hermeneutic quality, because hermeneutics implicate us in the act of interpretation to the extent that the question why arises. Whereas the technical aspect of discourse is concerned only with questions of how. John Lechte summarises Habermas’ views on what he calls ‘purposive rationality’ in the following:
...the technical rationality which enabled capitalism to develop more diverse and complex commodity forms [is], however, incapable of producing a creditable justification of the capitalist system itself. In short, the technical understanding of science was positivistic, and therefore ultimately ideological. For it denied the hermeneutic component in science as it was practised.
If we substitute ‘discourse’ for ‘science’ we can see that technical rationality,  which can be equated with the centripetal forces of language within an institution like the EU, is also capable of creating complex and diverse forms without being able to justify the institution itself. Hermeneutics at least attempts to assess motivation, on the part of the writer/speaker as well as the hearer/reader, and these are why questions. It may be that an institution is held together not only by the physical limits on its own spaces but by the discursive limits which are bound to restrict the interpretative, critical project from questioning its own status. The normative, centripetal, aspects of technical language are problematised by subject positions, either individual or collective, which announce themselves within language while enunciating from a specific position in relation to it. They are both within and yet outside language, and, as I have said, ultimately they are the prerequisite to the writing of interpretative or critical thought.
In this way the actual exchange, assimilation and dissemination of ideas by socio-historical, physical people provides a starting point, which may be able to admit of its own perspective whilst pointing to empirically verifiable events: these things happened. It seems that to begin with with a comparison between the substitution of one centre for another, or a purely theoretical synthesis which lays open to the charge of being a purely subjective matter. This is not to say that a conceptual dialectic is in itself invalid, but it must have a historical basis which makes relevant to people, now or in the past. Thus I suggest that employing the category of history as a point of entry might be one way of continuing the process of research in the light of poststructuralism. The relevance of analysing reification and dialogue lies in the fact that for Bakhtin and Lukács they gradually became central notions in their views of art and culture. Formulated at about the same time (the early and mid- 1920s) they were never abandoned but only modified and brought to meet the demands of an increasingly theoretical mode of thinking. Unfolding simultaneously, these two ideas do offer a safe ground for comparison avoiding the fallacy of chronological incompatibility.

The Meaning and Signicaficance of Diaolgism
The Artifical Boundaries between the East and the West
Europe has qualms about Turkey
Likewise, Turkey has some qualms about accession to the EU.
Historical Roots of Turkish tolerance and understanding
Islamic and Ottoman Heritage
The European Union has opened accession talks with Turkey after EU foreign ministers meeting in Luxembourg on October 3 reached an agreement that cleared the way.
Chancellor Gerhard Schröder welcomed the opening of talks with the following statement:
“I am pleased that the EU member states and Turkey have begun negotiations on Turkey’s accession to the European Union. The European Union thus keeps a promise made to Turkey more than 40 years ago. Turkey, for its part, has committed itself to a comprehensive reform process, thus creating conditions for the start of accession negotiations.
It is up to Turkey to continue consistently on its reform course in order to lead the negotiations to their aim of Turkey’s accession to the European Union. The negotiations will be long and arduous.
I hope that the common goal of Turkey’s accession to the Europe Union will be achieved. A dynamic Turkey is an economically highly attractive partner. And a Turkey which shows that Islam and the values of the European Enlightenment can be consistent with each other will mean enormous growth in stability and security for Europe and beyond.”
Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer also said he was pleased that membership talks with Turkey would now begin.
The EU foreign ministers also agreed to open accession talks with Croatia.
British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw called the day of meetings in Luxembourg “truly historic.”
Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer compared the significance of having Turkey become a modernized Islamic country, based on European shared values, to a “D-Day in the war against terror.” In an interview on BBC radio on October 20, Fischer spoke about the prospect of Turkey joining the European Union; the need, in the context of an enlarged EU, for a European constitution; and the strategic significance for the EU of enlarging its borders into the region.
Fischer spoke of the potential for Turkey’s “strategic bridge function” in the Arab and Islamic world as a part of Europe. “Now they have the real opportunity to modernize,” Fischer said. “To modernize an Islamic country based on the shared values of Europe would be, I think, almost a D-Day in the war against terror. It would be the greatest positive challenge for the totalitarian and terrorist ideas.
Germany has long expressed its support for EU accession negotiations, if Turkey meets the relevant political criteria, and the German government welcomed the decision on October 6 by the European Commission to recommend that the EU start membership negotiations with Turkey.
Foreign Minister Fischer reiterated this support in the BBC interview. Europe should stick to the promises it has made to Turkey since 1963, for denying membership to Turkey, a large Islamic country with strong democratic and economic potential, would have very negative consequences, Fischer said. Europe, including those countries which are skeptical of a European constitution, should also consider the effect for the EU of having Turkey join an EU with weak institutions and a weak democratic process. Both Turkey’s membership and the European constitution should be promoted, Fischer said.
October 20,  2004
Chancellor Schröder has said, most recently on October 3 after a meeting with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Berlin, that Germany would vote in favor of opening negotiations with Turkey once the commission had reached its recommendation. Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer likewise welcomed the Commission’s report today and said the Commission’s assessment that negotiations could take 10 to 15 years seemed realistic.
Prime Minister Erdogan “is a great reform politician who wants to lead his country into the European Union,” Chancellor Schröder said in laudatory speech on October 3 as Erdogan received the “Quadriga” and “European of the Year” award of the association Werkstatt Deutschland.
Germany supports the beginning of negotiations with Turkey for historic, economic and security reasons, Schröder said. Historically, Europe has promised to open negotiations with Turkey for 40 years. Economically, the membership of Turkey, with its young and educated population, would be a boon for the EU, especially for Germany, already Turkey’s largest partner in trade and economic cooperation. And security-wise, Schröder said, Turkey is a reliable partner for Germany and for Europe, already working together closely within NATO and in the fight against international terrorism.
The ties between Germany and Turkey, whether historical, economic, social, or political, are exceptionally close. There are approximately 2.5 million people of Turkish descent living in Germany, of whom some 600,000 have German citizenship. Turkish citizens are by far the biggest group of foreigners in Germany.
“A democratic Turkey which is committed to European ideals would be a clear demonstration that there is no contradiction between Islamic belief and enlightened, modern society,” Schröder said in the speech on October 3. “This would be an awesome prospect, for then Turkey would be a role model for other Muslim countries in our European neighborhood.”
October 6, 2004
EU opens Turkey membership talks 

Mr Gul (L) said Turkey had embarked on a new era

Turkey has officially begun membership talks with the European Union - the culmination of a 40-year campaign.
Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul arrived in Luxembourg during the night for the opening ceremony, after Ankara agreed to the EU’s terms for the talks.
The move followed more than 24 hours of fraught discussions among EU nations, which ended with a last-minute deal.
They ended when Austria withdrew a demand that Turkey should be offered an option short of full membership.
Turkey had flatly rejected this possibility.
Croatia also began membership talks after the UN war crimes chief prosecutor said it was cooperating “fully” with The Hague tribunal.


Why is letting a Muslim nation, such as Turkey, into the EU such a big deal?

Megan DePerro, USA

Send us your comments
Turkish press: Mixed response 

Despite Britain’s insistence that there had been no trade-off, observers suggest Austria’s concession on Turkey was linked to the decision to begin talks with its neighbour, Croatia.
The BBC’s Oana Lungescu in Luxembourg says giving the go-ahead to Croatia removed Austria’s last objections to negotiations with Turkey.
However, UN war crimes prosecutor Carla del Ponte rejected suggestions she had come under pressure in compiling her report on Croatia’s cooperation.

‘Historic point’

A smiling Mr Gul was greeted with hugs by UK Foreign Secretary Jack Straw and other officials at a conference centre in Luxembourg.
Full Turkey-EU framework agreement (500K)
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Mr Straw, who opened the talks, urged Turkey to press ahead with reforms of the military and judiciary, and improve the situation in Kurdish areas of the country.
Mr Gul told reporters on his departure from Ankara that an “historic point has been reached today”, adding that Turkey “has embarked on a new era”.
“The text sets out very clearly the prospect of full membership. There is no alternative option (mentioned),” he went on.
Mr Straw, who led what he called “a pretty gruelling 30 hours of negotiations”, called it a “truly historic day for Europe and the whole of the international community”.
He warned it would be a “long road ahead”, with negotiations expected to take about 10 years, but added, “I have no doubt that if bringing Turkey in is the prize, it is worth fighting.”
Public still coming to terms with last EU enlargement
Tabloid newspaper campaign against Turkish membership
Governing People’s Party feeling vulnerable and isolated
Element of xenophobia and Islamophobia
Memory of Ottoman sieges of Vienna

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Principles governing the negotiations
1. The negotiations will be based on Turkey’s own merits and the pace will depend on Turkey’s progress in meeting the requirements for membership. The Presidency or the Commission as appropriate will keep the Council fully informed so that the Council can keep the situation under regular review. The Union side, for its part, will decide in due course whether the conditions for the conclusion of negotiations have been met; this will be done on the basis of a report from the Commission confirming the fulfilment by Turkey of the requirements listed in point 6.
2.  As agreed at the European Council in December 2004, these negotiations are based on Article 49 of the Treaty on European Union. The shared objective of the negotiations is accession. These negotiations are an open-ended process, the outcome of which cannot be guaranteed beforehand. While having full regard to all Copenhagen criteria, including the absorption capacity of the Union, if Turkey is not in a position to assume in full all the obligations of membership it must be ensured that Turkey is fully anchored in the European structures through the strongest possible bond.
3.  Enlargement should strengthen the process of continuous creation and integration in which the Union and its Member States are engaged. Every effort should be made to protect the cohesion and effectiveness of the Union. In accordance with the conclusions of the Copenhagen European Council in 1993, the Union’s capacity to absorb Turkey, while maintaining the momentum of European integration is an important consideration in the general interest of both the Union and Turkey. The Commission shall monitor this capacity during the negotiations, encompassing the whole range of issues set out in its October 2004 paper on issues arising from Turkey’s membership perspective, in order to inform an assessment by the Council as to whether this condition of membership has been met.

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4.  Negotiations are opened on the basis that Turkey sufficiently meets the political criteria set by the Copenhagen European Council in 1993, for the most part later enshrined in Article 6(1) of the Treaty on European Union and proclaimed in the Charter of Fundamental Rights. The Union expects Turkey to sustain the process of reform and to work towards further improvement in the respect of the principles of liberty, democracy, the rule of law and respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, including relevant European case law; to consolidate and broaden legislation and implementation measures specifically in relation to the zero tolerance policy in the fight against torture and ill-treatment and the implementation of provisions relating to freedom of expression, freedom of religion, women’s rights, ILO standards including trade union rights, and minority rights. The Union and Turkey will continue their intensive political dialogue. To ensure the irreversibility of progress in these areas and its full and effective implementation, notably with regard to fundamental freedoms and to full respect of human rights, progress will continue to be closely monitored by the Commission, which is invited to continue to report regularly on it to the Council, addressing all points of concern identified in the Commission’s 2004 report and recommendation as well as its annual regular report.
5. 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. The Council will decide by qualified majority on such a recommendation, after having heard Turkey, whether to suspend the negotiations and on the conditions for their resumption. The Member States will act in the Intergovernmental Conference in accordance with the Council decision, without prejudice to the general requirement for unanimity in the Intergovernmental Conference. The European Parliament will be informed.
6. The advancement of the negotiations will be guided by Turkey’s progress in preparing for accession, within a framework of economic and social convergence and with reference to the Commission’s reports in paragraph 2. This progress will be measured in particular against the following requirements:

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          − the Copenhagen criteria, which set down the following requirements for membership:
·         the stability of institutions guaranteeing democracy, the rule of law, human rights and respect for and protection of minorities;
·         the existence of a functioning market economy and the capacity to cope with competitive pressure and market forces within the Union;
·         the ability to take on the obligations of membership, including adherence to the aims of political, economic and monetary union and the administrative capacity to effectively apply and implement the acquis;
− Turkey’s unequivocal commitment to good neighbourly relations and its undertaking to resolve any outstanding border disputes in conformity with the principle of peaceful settlement of disputes in accordance with the United Nations Charter, including if necessary jurisdiction of the International Court of Justice;
− Turkey’s continued support for efforts to achieve a comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus problem within the UN framework and in line with the principles on which the Union is founded, including steps to contribute to a favourable climate for a comprehensive settlement, and progress in the normalisation of bilateral relations between Turkey and all EU Member States, including the Republic of Cyprus.
− the fulfilment of Turkey’s obligations under the Association Agreement and its Additional Protocol extending the Association Agreement to all new EU Member States, in particular those pertaining to the EU-Turkey customs union, as well as the implementation of the Accession Partnership, as regularly revised.
7.  In the period up to accession, Turkey will be required to progressively align its policies towards third countries and its positions within international organisations (including in relation to the membership by all EU Member States of those organisations and arrangements) with the policies and positions adopted by the Union and its Member States.

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8.  Parallel to accession negotiations, the Union will engage with Turkey in an intensive political and civil society dialogue. The aim of the inclusive civil society dialogue will be to enhance mutual understanding by bringing people together in particular with a view to ensuring the support of European citizens for the accession process.
9. Turkey must accept the results of any other accession negotiations as they stand at the moment of its accession.

Substance of the negotiations

10.       Accession implies the acceptance of the rights and obligations attached to the Union system and its institutional framework, known as the acquis of the Union. Turkey will have to apply this as it stands at the time of accession. Furthermore, in addition to legislative alignment, accession implies timely and effective implementation of the acquis. The acquis is constantly evolving and includes:
·         the content, principles and political objectives of the Treaties on which the Union is founded;
·         legislation and decisions adopted pursuant to the Treaties, and the case law of the Court of Justice;
·         other acts, legally binding or not, adopted within the Union framework, such as interinstitutional agreements, resolutions, statements, recommendations, guidelines;
·         joint actions, common positions, declarations, conclusions and other acts within the framework of the common foreign and security policy;
·         joint actions, joint positions, conventions signed, resolutions, statements and other acts agreed within the framework of justice and home affairs;
·         international agreements concluded by the Communities, the Communities jointly with their Member States, the Union, and those concluded by the Member States among themselves with regard to Union activities.

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Turkey will need to produce translations of the acquis into Turkish in good time before accession, and will need to train a sufficient number of translators and interpreters required for the proper functioning of the EU institutions upon its accession.
11.       The resulting rights and obligations, all of which Turkey will have to honour as a Member State, imply the termination of all existing bilateral agreements between Turkey and the Communities, and of all other international agreements concluded by Turkey which are incompatible with the obligations of membership. Any provisions of the Association Agreement which depart from the acquis cannot be considered as precedents in the accession negotiations.
12.       Turkey’s acceptance of the rights and obligations arising from the acquis may necessitate specific adaptations to the acquis and may, exceptionally, give rise to transitional measures which must be defined during the accession negotiations.
Where necessary, specific adaptations to the acquis will be agreed on the basis of the principles, criteria and parameters inherent in that acquis as applied by the Member States when adopting that acquis, and taking into consideration the specificities of Turkey.
The Union may agree to requests from Turkey for transitional measures provided they are limited in time and scope, and accompanied by a plan with clearly defined stages for application of the acquis. For areas linked to the extension of the internal market, regulatory measures should be implemented quickly and transition periods should be short and few; where considerable adaptations are necessary requiring substantial effort including large financial outlays, appropriate transitional arrangements can be envisaged as part of an on-going, detailed and budgeted plan for alignment. In any case, transitional arrangements must not involve amendments to the rules or policies of the Union, disrupt their proper functioning, or lead to significant distortions of competition. In this connection, account must be taken of the interests of the Union and of Turkey.

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Long transitional periods, derogations, specific arrangements or permanent safeguard clauses, i.e. clauses which are permanently available as a basis for safeguard measures, may be considered. The Commission will include these, as appropriate, in its proposals in areas such as freedom of movement of persons, structural policies or agriculture. Furthermore, the decision-taking process regarding the eventual establishment of freedom of movement of persons should allow for a maximum role of individual Member States. Transitional arrangements or safeguards should be reviewed regarding their impact on competition or the functioning of the internal market.
Detailed technical adaptations to the acquis will not need to be fixed during the accession negotiations. They will be prepared in cooperation with Turkey and adopted by the Union institutions in good time with a view to their entry into force on the date of accession.
13.       The financial aspects of the accession of Turkey must be allowed for in the applicable Financial Framework. Hence, as Turkey’s accession could have substantial financial consequences, the negotiations can only be concluded after the establishment of the Financial Framework for the period from 2014 together with possible consequential financial reforms. Any arrangements should ensure that the financial burdens are fairly shared between all Member States.
14.       Turkey will participate in economic and monetary union from accession as a Member State with a derogation and shall adopt the euro as its national currency following a Council decision to this effect on the basis of an evaluation of its fulfilment of the necessary conditions. The remaining acquis in this area fully applies from accession.
15.       With regard to the area of freedom, justice and security, membership of the European Union implies that Turkey accepts in full on accession the entire acquis in this area, including the Schengen acquis. However, part of this acquis will only apply in Turkey following a Council decision to lift controls on persons at internal borders taken on the basis of the applicable Schengen evaluation of Turkey’s readiness.

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16.       The EU points out the importance of a high level of environmental protection, including all aspects of nuclear safety.
17.       In all areas of the acquis, Turkey must bring its institutions, management capacity and administrative and judicial systems up to Union standards, both at national and regional level, with a view to implementing the acquis effectively or, as the case may be, being able to implement it effectively in good time before accession. At the general level, this requires a well-functioning and stable public administration built on an efficient and impartial civil service, and an independent and efficient judicial system.

Negotiating procedures

18.       The substance of negotiations will be conducted in an Intergovernmental Conference with the participation of all Member States on the one hand and the candidate State on the other.
19.       The Commission will undertake a formal process of examination of the acquis, called screening, in order to explain it to the Turkish authorities, to assess the state of preparation of Turkey for opening negotiations in specific areas and to obtain preliminary indications of the issues that will most likely come up in the negotiations.
20.       For the purposes of screening and the subsequent negotiations, the acquis will be broken down into a number of chapters, each covering a specific policy area. A list of these chapters is provided in the Annex. Any view expressed by either Turkey or the EU on a specific chapter of the negotiations will in no way prejudge the position which may be taken on other chapters. Also, agreements reached in the course of negotiations on specific chapters, even partial ones, may not be considered as final until an overall agreement has been reached for all chapters.

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21.       Building on the Commission’s Regular Reports on Turkey’s progress towards accession and in particular on information obtained by the Commission during screening, the Council, acting by unanimity on a proposal by the Commission, will lay down benchmarks for the provisional closure and, where appropriate, for the opening of each chapter. The Union will communicate such benchmarks to Turkey. Depending on the chapter, precise benchmarks will refer in particular to the existence of a functioning market economy, to legislative alignment with the acquis and to a satisfactory track record in implementation of key elements of the acquis demonstrating the existence of an adequate administrative and judicial capacity. Where relevant, benchmarks will also include the fulfilment of commitments under the Association Agreement, in particular those pertaining to the EU-Turkey customs union and those that mirror requirements under the acquis. Where negotiations cover a considerable period of time, or where a chapter is revisited at a later date to incorporate new elements such as new acquis, the existing benchmarks may be updated.
22.       Turkey will be requested to indicate its position in relation to the acquis and to report on its progress in meeting the benchmarks. Turkey’s correct transposition and implementation of the acquis, including effective and efficient application through appropriate administrative and judicial structures, will determine the pace of negotiations.
23.       To this end, the Commission will closely monitor Turkey’s progress in all areas, making use of all available instruments, including on-site expert reviews by or on behalf of the Commission. The Commission will inform the Council of Turkey’s progress in any given area when presenting draft EU Common Positions. The Council will take this assessment into account when deciding on further steps relating to the negotiations on that chapter. In addition to the information the EU may require for the negotiations on each chapter and which is to be provided by Turkey to the Conference, Turkey will be required to continue to provide regularly detailed, written information on progress in the alignment with and implementation of the acquis, even after provisional closure of a chapter. In the case of provisionally closed chapters, the Commission may recommend the re-opening of negotiations, in particular where Turkey has failed to meet important benchmarks or to implement its commitments.


Athens, 6 October 2005 (19:06 UTC+2) 
The criterion and reference point for the Greek stance are the agreed upon texts by the 25 EU member states which will be constantly present throughout Turkey’s EU accession course. Ankara’s interpretations and statements made 48 hours after the opening of the EU accession negotiations are its own, said Greek Foreign Ministry spokesman Giorgos Koumoutsakos commenting on recent statements made by Turkish officials.
Mr. Koumoutsakos reiterated that the British EU Presidency statement on the veto right reserved by Turkey on Cyprus’ membership in international organizations has no legal force neither affects the content of paragraph 7 of the negotiating framework. He also stressed that the Greek side accepted it because it is something self-evident in international relations. However, he clarified that the way Ankara exercises its veto right will be judged within the framework of the negotiating process.
Regarding the involvement of US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in the opening of Turkey’s EU accession negotiations, Mr. Koumoutsakos pointed out that in international relations states discuss with each other but what is important is who is finally making a decision.
Responding to a question on the presence of Turkish occupation forces in Cyprus, the Greek Foreign Ministry spokesman stated that the issue of the presence of occupation forces has been repeatedly condemned by the international community and Turkey is liable. He said that it is a complex issue that is associated with the solution of the Cyprus issue within the UN framework stressing, however, that this situation creates a specific climate in the EU.
Mr. Koumoutsakos stated that to a similar extent, the violations of the Greek national airspace by Turkish fighter jets are not consistent with Turkey’s obligations for good neighborly relations.
Published: October 5, 2005
Filed at 8:12 a.m. ET

ANKARA (Reuters) - Turkey’s government defended on Wednesday a historic deal opening talks on joining the European Union against domestic critics who accuse it of selling the country short.
Skip to next paragraph  Opposition politicians and some academics say the government made too many concessions in signing up to a negotiating framework accord with the 25-nation bloc on Monday evening which allowed the long-anticipated negotiations to begin.
They say the EU, which still has deep reservations about admitting the large, Muslim country of 72 million people, has effectively offered Turkey ties short of full membership.
“The negotiating framework document is not a step back from the decision of December 17, 2004,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Namik Tan told a regular news briefing, referring to last year’s EU summit document giving the go-ahead for Turkey’s entry talks.
“Turkey’s full membership (as the goal of the talks) is confirmed once again in bold letters.”
Despite Austrian pressure, the EU did not insert any mention of a “privileged partnership”—which falls short of full membership—into the document.
But it did spell out for the first time the EU’s ability to absorb Turkey as a “condition” of its membership. Previously, this had been only an “important consideration.”
Austrian Chancellor Wolfgang Schuessel, whose country is opposed to Turkish membership, has described this new wording as tantamount to a “new chapter” in the EU’s enlargement process.
Tan played down the term “absorption capacity,” saying it had always been part of the requirements for Turkish accession.
Turkish officials hope that with time, and with continued strong economic growth in Turkey, European public hostility to admitting their country will decline. The membership negotiations are expected to last up to a decade.
Tan also told reporters Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul had rung U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on Tuesday to thank her for Washington’s strong support for Turkey’s bid to open the EU talks.
Rice intervened at one point during the difficult negotiations on Monday to reassure Turkey that wording in the proposed EU negotiating framework would not impinge on Ankara’s rights as a NATO member.
“The U.S. support is open, natural and right, and we are satisfied with it,” Tan said.
Gul was due later on Wednesday to brief the Turkish parliament on the EU document. His ruling center-right Justice and Development Party (AKP) has a large majority.
PARIS - Turkish State Minister Kursad Tuzmen said on Thursday that Turkey will be an advantage, not a burden for the European Union (EU).
Speaking to reporters in Paris where Turquality promotion program was held, Tuzmen stressed that the start of the accession talks between Turkey and the EU would further consolidate the stability of the Turkish economy and its international status.
Turkey had already recorded great progress in fulfilling EU’s economic criteria, said Tuzmen.
Tuzmen stressed that Turkey which exported most of its goods to EU, was also EU’s seventh biggest export market in the world. Full integration (Turkey’s accession into the EU) would also further integrate Turkey’s economy with the EU, he said.
Referring to Turkey’s textile and ready-made clothing sector, Tuzmen said that the sector’s exports amounted to 17.6 billion dollars last year. Tuzmen stressed that the sector should create its own brands as this would strengthen the place of Turkish textile and ready-made clothing in the world.

Published: 10/6/2005

Commentary: Turkey’s EU accession not likely

UPI Editor-at-large
Published October 3, 2005

WASHINGTON—It will be an exercise in diplomatic futility and hypocrisy, choreographed to remain on stage, kabuki-like, for 10 years, with a cast of hundreds of diplomats and Eurocrats (EU’s civil servants who micromanage everything from the size of condoms to the curvature of bananas).
Turkey, with 5 percent of its land mass and 10 percent of its people on the European side of the Bosporus and 95 percent of the country and 90 percent of its population in Asia Minor, wants to become a full-fledged member of the European Union. This would give EU a common border with Syria, Iraq, Iran, Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia, a notion that has already given Europeans an acute attack of Turkophobia.
EU membership negotiations, which were scheduled to start this week, are programmed to last 10 years. By then, Turkey’s population will have increased from 71 million to 82 million, making a Muslim country the largest in the 25-nation European Union. That’s why it’s not going to happen. But the European players, eyes blazing with insincerity, have to convince the spectators that if the negotiations are successful, and Turkey agrees to all European demands, preconditions, codicils, and 80,000 pages of EU law, membership, strongly endorsed by the U.S., will be forthcoming.
Turks are beginning to question the utility of what now strikes them as a charade whose pantomime hints have already been correctly interpreted. These voices now say Turkey should distance itself from a Europe that doesn’t wish to go beyond “privileged partnership” status. Most European leaders understand that rejection could tip Turkey, now governed by an Islamic party, into the camp of radical Islam. But one European opinion survey after another says Turkey does not belong in EU.
French and Dutch voters rejected the proposed new European constitution last spring because the move was widely interpreted as facilitating Turkey’s membership application.
A fear that transcends all others in Europe these days is called “Eurabia.” The nightmare this conjures up is of militant Islam overshadowing a Judeo-Christian Europe. The Ottoman Empire and before that the sword of Islam carved out a nice chunk of Europe through the Iberian Peninsula into southern France.
The Muslims of 1,000 years ago put the Europeans to shame. It took Europeans several centuries to match their architecture and their gardens. They also outclassed Europeans in astronomy, medicine, engineering, geography and mathematics (algebra is an Arabic term). Cordova, their capital in Spain, was Europe’s richest city, replete with magnificent palaces and mosques.
The age of Islamic military conquest lasted until 1669, when the Ottoman Empire made its last acquisition by conquering Crete from the Venetians. Fourteen years later, it was curtains for the Ottomans in Europe. They failed to take Vienna and retreated in disarray. On the southwestern end of Europe, Islam’s armies collapsed almost 200 years earlier when they lost Granada, the last Islamic city in Spain, in 1492, the year Columbus arrived in America.
Islam’s big mistake was to ban the printing press, which was banned by Ottoman decree in 1485. It would have been a sacrilege, flat earth clerics decided, to use the Arabic language in mechanical equipment. That was the geopolitical ball game. When Napoleon arrived in Egypt in 1798, Cairo had no printing presses. By then the European intelligentsia had been embarked on self-improvement through books for almost two centuries.
Today, there are approximately 20 million Muslims, including 3.8 million Turks, living in Europe, a number that is projected to double by 2020. Poor immigrants, most of them illegal, continue to flow into EU countries from the Middle East, including Turkey, North Africa and sub-Sahara Africa.
New arrivals fade into the masses of mostly unemployed Muslims that huddle in the poorer neighborhoods of Europe’s major cities. For the most part, they are not integrated. Even second- and third-generation European-born Muslims, now holders of EU passports, and free to travel to the U.S. without visas, resist assimilation. Their hero is neither European nor American, but Saudi. Pro-Osama bin Laden literature can be found at kiosks all over Europe and on thousands of websites.
In Europe, would-be jihadis continue to volunteer to fight in Iraq. They use the Internet to learn how to make bombs from store-bought chemicals. They also learn the names of mosques in Syria and Jordan that can hide a jihadi making his way into Iraq, and then to learn the different locations in Iraq where jihadis should report for training and combat assignments. An unknown number have already returned from Iraq with newly acquired terrorist skills, the ability to form sleeper cells, and encourage others to sign up for “holy war against the infidels.”
The Dutch intelligence service—AIVD—says radical Islam in the Netherlands now encompasses a multitude of movements, organizations and groups that embrace the fundamentalist line, 20 of them hard-line Islamist. In London, authorities believe as many as 3,000 veterans of al-Qaida training camps over the years were born or based in Britain. And in France, a study of 1,160 recent French converts to Islam found that 23 percent of them identified themselves as Salafists, another way of spelling Wahhabi.
EU countries are tightening their immigration laws in response to popular demand to retard the growth of their Muslim populations. So talking turkey about Turkey in this environment can only produce a turkey.
On 3 October 2005, membership negotiations were symbolically opened with Turkey, which has been an associate member of the EU since 1963 and an official candidate since 1999. The historic decision on 17 December 2004 by the European Council was confirmed by the European heads of state and government on 17 June. On 29 June, the Commission presented its negotiating framework to Ankara, and after a full day of intense negotiations the EU-25’s foreign ministers finalised the document on 3 October. Within hours, Turkey accepted the terms
Ever since the foundation of modern day Turkey in 1923, this country with a predominantly Muslim population has been a secular democracy closely aligned with the West. Turkey was a founding member of the United Nations, and a member of NATO (since 1952), the Council of Europe (1949), the OECD (1961) and an associate member of the Western European Union (1992). Ankara chose to begin co-operating  closely with the then European Economic Community in 1959, and Turkey’s prospective membership in the EEC’s successor, the European Union, has been a source of much debate since.
February 1952: Turkey becomes a full member of NATO .
September 1959: Ankara applies for associate membership of the European Economic Community
September 1963: The Ankara Agreement (an association agreement) is signed to take Turkey to Customs Union and finally to full EEC membership. The first financial protocol is also signed.
November 1970: The Additional Protocol and the second financial protocol signed in Brussels.
January 1973: The Additional Protocol enters into force. It sets out comprehensively how the Customs Union would be established
July 1974: Turkey invades Cyprus.
During the first half of the 1980s, relations between Turkey and the Community come to a virtual freeze following the military coup d’etat on 12 September 1980.
June 1980: The Association Council decides to decrease customs duties on almost all agricultural products to “zero” by 1987.
September 1986: The Turkey-EEC Association Council meeting revives the association process.
14 April 1987: Turkey applies for full EEC membership.
December 1989: The Commission endorses Turkey’s eligibility for membership but defers the assessment of its application.
March 1995: Turkey-EU Association Council finalises the agreement on the Customs Union, which enters into force on 1 January 1996.
December 1997: At the Luxembourg Summit, EU leaders decline to grant candidate status to Turkey.
December 1999: EU Helsinki Council decides on the candidate status of Turkey .
March 2001: The EU Council of Ministers adopts EU-Turkey Accession Partnership .
March 2001: The Turkish government adopts the National Programme of Turkey for the adoption of EU laws.
September 2001: Turkish parliament adopts over 30 amendments to the constitution in order to meet the Copenhagen political criteria for EU membership.
August 2002: The Turkish Parliament passes sweeping reforms to meet the EU’s human rights criteria.
13 December 2002: The Copenhagen European Council resolves that if the European Council in December 2004, on the basis of a report and a recommendation from the Commission, decides that Turkey fulfils the Copenhagen political criteria, the      EU would open accession negotiations with Turkey  . In the meantime, EU leaders have agreed to extend and deepen co-operation on the EC-Turkey Customs Union and to provide Turkey with increased pre-accession financial assistance.
May 2003: The EU Council of Ministers decides on the principles, priorities, intermediate objectives and conditions of the Accession Partnership with Turkey .
January 2004: Turkey signs protocol banning death penalty in all circumstances, a move welcomed by the EU.
March 2004: Council of Europe recommends ending monitoring of Turkey .
October 2004:        Commission issues progress report on Turkey .
17 December 2004:    European Council decided to open accession negotiations with Turkey on 3 October 2005 - with strings attached.
23 May 2005: Turkey names Economy Minister Ali Babacan as the country’s chief accession negotiator.
1 June 2005: Turkey’s revised penal code, first adopted in September 2004, enters into force.
17 June 2005: The Council reiterates the EU’s determination to proceed with the enlargement process.
29 June 2005: The Commission presents its “rigorous” negotiating framework to Ankara.
29 July 2005: Turkey signs protocol to Ankara agreement, extending EU-15 customs union to the ten new member states including Cyprus. Ankara also issues a declaration on the non-recognition of Cyprus.
21 September 2005: The EU approves its counter-declaration on Turkey’s 29 July declaration.
3 October 2005: Accession talks symbolically opened with Turkey.
In its 17 December 2004 decision, the European Council recognised Turkey’s “significant legislative progress in many areas” but added that “these need to be further consolidated and broadened”. Furthermore, the report also took note of the improvements in the country’s economic stability and predictability and the strengthened independence and efficiency of the judiciary. Regarding the respect for human rights and the exercise of fundamental freedoms, “Turkey has acceded to most relevant international and European conventions”.
Most importantly for Ankara, Turkey got a fixed date (3 October 2005) for starting membership negotiations. The Turkish side had originally hoped for an earlier date, in view of the Copenhagen summit commitment that the EU would open talks “without delay” once Turkey is deemed to have made sufficient progress in its reforms.
Under the Council’s decision, a framework for Turkey’s EU membership negotiations was established by the Commission. This document was released on 29 June. The negotiating framework, which has been described by Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn as “rigorous”, rests on the following elements:
The underlying and shared objective of the talks will be Turkey’s accession. However, the negotiations will be “open-ended”, which means that their outcome cannot be guaranteed beforehand.
At the end of the talks, should Turkey fail to qualify in full for all obligations of EU membership as specified in the Copenhagen criteria, EU member states would still ensure that Ankara is “fully anchored in the European structures through the strongest possible bond”.
The accession negotiations will be conducted in the framework of an Intergovernmental Conference with the participation of Turkey and all EU member states. The policy issues will be broken down into 35 policy areas (chapters) - more than ever before - and the decisions will require unanimity.
The EU may consider the inclusion of long transition periods, derogations, specific arrangements or permanent safeguard clauses in its proposals for each framework.
Membership talks with candidates “whose accession could have substantial financial consequences” (such as Turkey) can only be concluded after 2014, the scheduled date for the establishment of the EU’s new financial framework.
Accession negotiations can be suspended in case of a “serious and persistent breach […] of the principles of democracy, respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms and the rule of law on which the Union is founded”. Suspension would require a Commission initiative or a request to that effect by one third of the member states. The final decision would be made by the Council by qualified majority, and the European Parliament would be informed.
Under a compromise formula agreed at the December 2004 EU Council, before 3 October 2005 Turkey would have to sign a protocol that will adapt the 1963 Ankara Treaty to the ten new member states of the EU, including the Greek Cypriot government. For practical purposes this would amount to an implicit recognition of this government for the first time since the island’s division in 1974. “The adoption of this protocol is in no way recognition, and I’ve put this on the record,” Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said. The deal did not include a commitment from Ankara that the protocol would be ratified by the Turkish parliament before October 2005. As for the other key condition: Turkey on 1 June 2005 enacted the country’s revised penal code.
Throughout Europe, the arguments that surround Turkey’s projected accession revolve around a series of issues, ranging from demographic through geographic to political. One commonly raised point is that, if and when it were to join the EU, Turkey would become the EU’s most populated member state. Turkey’s current population is 71 million, and demographers project it to increase to 80-85 million in the next 20 years. This compares with the largest current EU member state Germany, which has 83 million people today, but whose population is projected to decrease to around 80 million by 2020.
Another argument is rooted in the age-old debate on whether it is possible to establish geographic borders for Europe, and whether Turkey ‘fits’ within these borders. This is seen by many as a dispute that rests on philosophical and intellectual prejudgements, especially since the Treaty of Rome is widely accepted to aim for the construction of a union of European states based on shared common values.
Perhaps the most sensitive of all arguments centre on the cultural and religious differences. Since the EU identifies itself as a cultural and religious mosaic that recognises and respects diversity, the supporters of Turkey’s EU bid believe that, as long as both Turkey and the EU member states maintain this common vision, cultural and religious differences should be irrelevant.
The EU member states’ concerns over Turkey’s human rights record as well as global and regional security-related issues have also been key factors behind Turkey’s prolonged application process.
The future of the divided island of Cyprus has also been a major sticking point. The Council’s December 2004 decision entailed a compromise formula on the Cyprus issue, under which the affected sides were expected to work towards a solution to the conflict before the scheduled 3 October 2005 launch of membership talks with Ankara. However, the accession talks will now open with the Cyprus conflict still unresolved.
The results of the referenda on the EU Constitution during the first half of 2005 - especially the No votes in France and the Netherlands - have been detrimental to Turkey’s EU bid. Although subsequent research and surveys have failed to prove that enlargement in general, and Turkey’s candidancy in particular, were key factors behind the public’s rejection of the Constitution, the summer of 2005 still witnessed an increase Europe-wide of scepticism towards Turkey’s European prospects.
Germany has been a major supporter of Turkey’s bid under Chancellor Gerhard Schroder. However, an eventual takeover at the helm by Christian Democrat leader Angela Merkel during the autumn of 2005 may change the country’s stance. Merkel has been a vocal opponent of Ankara’s EU membership, arguing that “inviting Turkey to become a candidate [...] was a mistake”. Meanwhile, Germany remains Turkey’s most important economic and commercial partner within the EU. The volume of bilateral trade, worth 14 billion euro annually, has doubled in the past ten years. Nearly 14 per cent of Turkey’s exports go to Germany, while 17 per cent of Germany’s total exports go to Turkey. There are nearly 1,100 German companies operating in Turkey today, and over three million German tourists visit Turkey each year. There are an estimated 2.5 million Turks living in Germany today, and 600,000 of them have already become German citizens.
Britain, current holder of the EU’s rotating Presidency, remains committed to the EU’s continued enlargement, and considers it a priority to start membership talks with Ankara on 3 October. However, in view of the recent failed referenda on the EU Constitution and the perceptible mood swing in certain European political circles, it may prove difficult for London to keep up the momentum. Turkey is a significant trading partner of the UK. In 2002, Britain was Turkey’s third largest export destination and sixth largest import source. Total bilateral trade for 2002 reached 3.7 billion pounds.
France, along with Austria, has pledged to hold a referendum on Turkey’s EU accession, appears to become increasingly sceptical on the issue. While President Chirac has been a vocal albeit luke-warm supporter of Ankara’s ambitions, the referendum on the EU Constitution brought to the fore the French public’s reservations. In June 2005, Chirac said that the EU should re-examine the planned enlargement, and called for a summit to be held on how the process should be pursued. Paris and Ankara signed an action plan in 1998 which introduced a strategic dimension to Turkish-French relations. French companies are listed as the biggest investors in Turkey, although France ranks only fifth in terms of volume of investment. Turkey exported 2.12 billion US dollars worth of goods to France in 2002 while the value of its imports totalled 1.76 billion US dollars. France ranks as the fourth largest source of tourism for Turkey. Meanwhile, the largely anti-Islamic far right has been making significant advances on the French political scene - against the backdrop of slightly increasing public reluctance to admitting new members to the EU-15 club.
Greece, Turkey’s traditional enemy, has by now practically become a cheerleader for Ankara’s EU membership. According to Athens, it is better to have Turkey in the club than outside. “We simply believe that if and when [Turkey] joins the European Union it will be obliged to observe these rules and values. This will by itself resolve most of our problems,” said former Greek Defence Minister Yannos Papantoniou. The government of Greek Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis continues with this goodwill approach.
Turkey counts as a key ally for the United States, and thus Washington believes that the EU should take in the largely Muslim Mediterranean nation as a full member. For the US, Turkey’s EU membership would create a stable role model for the whole Islamic world.
Poland, which joined the EU as a full member on 1 May 2004, has been wary that Turkey, once accepted into the EU club, would draw massive subsidies and would also be way too big a country for the Union to swallow. Nevertheless, Warsaw has also repeatedly expressed full support for Turkey’s EU membership bid.
Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso has said that the EU remains wedded to its commitments, but at the same time he made it clear that the European public’s concerns about Turkey’s prospective membership cannot be ignored. The “signals sent by the electorate [should be] discussed seriously”, he said. For this end, the Commission has announced its intention to initiate a civil society dialogue across the member states about enlargement in general and Turkey’s accession in particular. In 2006, some 40 million euro will be earmarked for this project.
News: Nation / World

Turkey accession talks cut to core of what it means to be European 
(1 comments; last comment posted October 4, 2005 01:03 pm)  print | email this story 
By PAUL HAVEN | Associated Press
October 4, 2005

LONDON - The prospect of Turkey’s accession to the European Union is testing the very fabric that binds the bloc together _ throwing up religious, economic and security issues that will be hard to iron out even over the decade or more set aside for negotiations.
Wrangling over whether to accept the poor, predominantly Muslim nation of 70 million into the affluent EU family has cut to the heart of what it means to be European.
French President Jacques Chirac even went so far as to say Tuesday that in order to qualify for EU membership, Turkey would need to undergo a “major cultural revolution.”
But other top European officials pointed to the opportunities that could come by welcoming a nation seen by many as a crucial bridge between East and West.
“It’s a historic step Europe has won today,” German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer said, following an 11th hour breakthrough that overcame an Austrian plan to offer the country only limited membership. “It’s a big chance for both sides.”
Proponents say Turkey is wealthier even now than Eastern European countries like Bulgaria and Romania were when they began membership talks _ and Turkey’s inclusion in the bloc still isn’t contemplated for at least a decade.
By that time, they argue, Turkey will be stronger economically and strict EU membership conditions will have helped democratic values take root. That would reinforce Turkey’s role _ one it has played for decades as a member of NATO and an associate EU member _ as a key partner in dealing with the volatile Middle East.
Turkey’s supporters say that instead of fearing Turkey’s vast pool of young and cheap labor, Europeans should see it as a human windfall that could help it offset a growing demographics crisis: the continent’s rapidly aging population and falling birthrates.
Some say the Turkish workforce will be an essential ingredient in competing with the likes of China and India _ the century’s emerging economic powers.
Without Turkey, Europe will “fail to finance the needs of its aging population,” foreign affairs analyst Cunyet Ulsever warned in a commentary in the Turkish daily News.
Others fear the effect all of that labor will have on already high European unemployment rates. Turkey’s population is expected to surpass the 80 million of the EU’s largest nation, Germany, within a decade _ and for many Europeans that conjures up frightening images of waves of Turkish immigrants.
“There is the question if the EU can take this,” Austrian Foreign Minister Ursula Plassnik said in Luxembourg, where foreign ministers negotiated an end to the impasse.
Economic issues are not the only concern.
Fadi Hakura, a Turkey specialist at Chatham House, a London think tank, said that the arguments against Turkey, in the end “come down to religion.”
“The fear is that Muslims, and the Turks in particular, due to reasons of religion and culture cannot fully integrate into European culture,” he said.
Indeed many critics question whether Turkey qualifies even geographically for EU membership _ the only part of the sprawling nation that is actually within in Europe is the slice of Istanbul that lies west of the Bosphorus waterway.
Turkey has a spotty human rights record and a government some say has been drifting toward religious conservatism. Islamic radicalism, however, has so far been reined in by the influence of the powerful military, the guardians of Turkey’s state-imposed secularism.
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party _ conservative and Islamic-rooted _ has been implementing measures that have improved human rights, reformed the legal system and reduced the power of the military in government.
The religious question is particularly unnerving at a time that Europe finds itself in the crosshairs of al-Qaida and other terror organizations.
But Hakura said such fears are all the more reason for Europe to reach out to Turkey, whose entry has become a “powerful symbol to the Muslim world and to the Muslim minority within Europe.”
Keeping Turkey out “could send the message that Europe is not imaginative enough nor open enough to include a country of a different religious background.”

Associated Press correspondent Suzan Fraser in Ankara, Turkey, and Jamey Keaten in Paris contributed to this report.

EU Accession Negotiations with Turkey

Erdogan’s Obstacle Course towards Joining the European Union

Now that the EU has officially announced the start of accession negotiations, the Turkish leadership must now prove that it can resolve the many obstacles facing its EU membership. These range from the Cyprus and Armenian issues to a guarantee of democratic basic rights. Ömer Erzeren summarizes the sticking points
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In reaching out towards Europe, Prime Minister Erdogan is walking on thin ice, writes Ömer Erzeren | When the Justice and Development Party (AKP) won parliamentary elections almost three years ago, one of its most important election promises was that it would do its utmost to ensure Turkish membership in the EU. Many commentators abroad found it surprising that such a program was being promoted by a conservative party, whose leadership is made up of practicing Moslems.
Almost three years later, the party can rightfully claim to have kept its word, at least on this election promise. Turkey has never been as close to Europe as it is today. Accession negotiations are scheduled to begin on 3 October.
The changes to the laws and constitution made under Tayyip Erdogan’s government, which have contributed to the democratization of the country, were the preconditions laid out last year by the EU heads of state and government when they decided on the 3 October date for accession negotiations.
In the past few weeks and months, resistance grows fiercer from both within the EU and from Turkish EU opponents.

Cyprus, a divided country

France and Austria, in particular, were strongly pushing for Turkey to be denied membership in the EU. In Germany, as well, the CDU/CSU attempted to mobilize against the start of accession negotiations and instead promoted the model of a “privileged partnership.”
On top of this are the enormous tensions existing between Turkey and the Republic of Cyprus, which is already a EU member state. As a precondition to the start of accession negotiations, Turkey signed a supplemental protocol, which extends the existing EU custom union to the 10 new members including Cyprus.
Turkey then issued a one-sided declaration stressing that the signing is not tantamount to a recognition of the Republic of Cyprus. In a laboriously arrived at counter-declaration, the EU demanded that Turkey allow Cypriot ships and planes the use of its ports and airports. It further states that the recognition of Cyprus “is a necessary component of accession.”

A political deadlock

The island has been split into a Greek-Cypriot controlled south and a Turkish north since Turkey invaded in 1974. The invasion followed a fascist lead coup, which had as its goal the union of the island with Greece. Today, UN troops patrol the artificial border.
The situation has been politically deadlocked for decades. Upon the insistence of Greece, who threatened to block EU membership of the Eastern European countries, the way was cleared for Cyprus to join the EU, although it is effectively a divided country.

After decades of having uncompromisingly rejected UN peace efforts, Turkish Cypriots finally decided to change their position. The impetus was EU membership for the Republic of Cyprus, which only represents the Greek-Cypriots in the south, but claims the right to represent the island as a whole.

Cyprus issue haunts accession negotiations

The island has been living in a topsy-turvy world for almost two decades. The Turkish-Cypriots in the north recently elected a new social democratic, reform-minded political leadership, which has committed itself to striving for reunification. A vast majority of the northern Cypriots voted for the UN peace plan. At the same time, the Greek-Cypriot leadership was propagating nationalistic slogans in opposition to Kofi Annan’s peace plan.
Just a few weeks before the island’s EU membership, Greek-Cypriots rejected the UN peace plan in a referendum. Before the vote, the Greek-Cypriot president had guaranteed the EU leadership that a political solution would be found. The reality turned out to be rather different. Former European Enlargement Commissioner Günter Verheugen said he had felt “deceived.”
The Cyprus conflict has come back to haunt accession negotiations, especially now that the Republic of Cyprus is a EU member state. Without a political solution, Turkish membership in the EU is unthinkable.

Turkey’s politcal tour de force

On the other hand, the Turkish government has completed a course correction in its Cyprus policy with a domestic political tour de force. Turkey can hardly agree to the alternative to the UN peace plan dictated by the Republic of Cyprus, which would effectively marginalize Turkish-Cypriots. It is therefore no surprise that the bureaucrats in the Turkish foreign ministry are prepared for long-winded negotiations.
The Turkish government has not had an easy task in its negotiations with the EU. Plagued by the Cyprus issue as well as the broadsides from France and Austria, it must also ward off strong opposition from within the state apparatus, which has provided Turkey’s opponents in the EU with more ammunition only weeks before the start of accession negotiations.
One begins to get the impression that some sort of conspiracy is underway. The charges brought against the writer Orhan Pamuk, this year’s winner of the prestigious German Peace Prize, can be seen as part of this.

A new direction in Armenia policy

Just last week, the Istanbul administrative court issued a sensational decision banning a conference on the expulsion and massacre of Armenians in 1915. Critical Turkish scholars organized the conference in response to the official taboo against discussing the mass killings.
Prime Minister Erdogan criticized the court’s banning order with unusually sharp words and spoke of a “provocation.” The conference took place nonetheless, despite the court ban, which was deemed unconstitutional by experts.

Political momentum contributing to democratization

A vast police contingent protected the conference from egg and tomato throwing fascist demonstrators. The foreign minister even sent a message, referring to this “tragic period” and the suffering of the “Turkish and Armenian peoples.”
In reaching out towards Europe, Prime Minister Erdogan is walking on thin ice. Yet he knows that the vast majority of the population stands behind him on this issue. The negotiations will not be an easy ride and it is in no way certain that they will lead to Turkish membership in the EU.
Negotiations can be broken off at any time. The only thing that is certain is that negotiations with the EU so far have unleashed a political momentum within Turkey, contributing to a much greater democratization of society.
Can Turkey be integrated into Europe’s political culture? Two prominent experts - Udo Steinbach, Director of the German Institute for Middle East Studies (pro), and internationally-renowned historian Hans-Ulrich Wehler (contra) - answer questions on the issue.
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| The discussion about whether to start accession negotiations with Turkey is splitting political parties and the population of the EU. Even in the scholarly world the issue is controversial. Below, we posed questions on the issue to two prominent experts. In many respects their positions turn out to be diametrically opposed.
Udo Steinbach, Director of the German Institute for Middle East Studies in Hamburg, is a proponent of accession negotiations. The internationally-renowned historian Hans-Ulrich Wehler is against negotiations and also rules out Turkey’s accession to the EU in the long term. DW-WORLD compares their positions below:

On the EU Summit, December 16 and 17

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Udo Steinbach | Steinbach calls upon the EU member states to vote for accession negotiations with Turkey at the summit meeting in Brussels. “The talks ought to begin at some point in 2005,” says Steinbach. At the same time, he emphasizes, it must be made clear once again that the negotiations can be interrupted and put on ice at any time if it is shown that Turkey will not be able to fulfill the minimum standards of the Copenhagen criteria.
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Hans-Ulrich Wehler | By contrast, Wehler hopes that no consensus will be reached at the summit. “I hope that a few heads of state will have the guts to say that Turkey is a large non-European Muslim state in Asia Minor. We do not want to see it as a potential leading state in the EU, as one of the states that will define the EU’s overall Mid-East policy, one which will represent the biggest faction in Strasbourg due to its large population and which, because of its religious affiliation, cannot simply be divided up between Christian Democrats and Social Democrats.” However, Wehler does not see much chance for a refusal.
In the final analysis, who ought to determine Turkey’s role in Europe: the European citizens or the politicians?
Steinbach sympathizes with Germans’ and Europeans’ feeling of uncertainty about the Turkey issue. “However, at the moment all that is being discussed is the beginning of negotiations, not Turkey’s actual accession.” And here, he says, political leaders must respond with a clear yes. “In this important decision about Turkey, public opinion should be ignored at the moment; the vote should be cast by the EU’s political leaders.”
Wehler, by contrast, is sharply critical of the attitude of German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder and the French head of state, Jacques Chirac. Both have spoken out explicitly on behalf of negotiations. In Wehler’s opinion, they represent “the weakest breed of European politicians in fifty years.” Schröder and Chirac, he insists, are ignoring the will of the European citizens. In Germany polls found a consistent 66 percent of the population to be against accession; in France the figure was 68 percent. “That opens up a huge gap, a critical democratic deficit, when leading politicians ignore majority opinion in their countries like this,” Wehler believes.

Assessing reforms and progress in Turkey

According to Steinbach, over the past five years “Turkey has gone through a rapid process of upgrading to the European standards”. “I am impressed by their progress. I believe it is now time to put them to the acid test.” One example of this progress for Steinbach is the seven reform packages which the Turkish parliament has passed since 2002. “They cover nearly all the problem areas, from minority rights to the death penalty, from torture to economic measures and the separation of church and state.” Steinbach also praises reforms in criminal law and the Turkish government’s recommendation that Cyprus’s Turkish population support the island’s reunification.
Wehler takes a skeptical view of this progress: “At the moment these are merely laws on paper, at the very highest level of the legislature. It does not tell us how much will trickle down to the daily business of the bureaucracy, the legal authorities, the police or the courts.”

Unsolved problems

Steinbach and Wehler share a certain consensus on the issue of Turkey’s unsolved problems, citing human rights violations, the still-common use of torture and the lack of equal rights for women. And both criticize the fact that no lasting solution has been found for the Kurdish question. “This means that Turkey is hardly ready to accede to the EU at the present time. Important steps must be taken, further steps must be taken,” stresses Steinbach.
The experts take an especially critical view of the situation of non-Islamic minorities. Wehler finds that Christian churches in Turkey are subject to “severe pressure to Islamize”. “They are still barred from holding property or having their own clergy, not to mention training clergy.” On this point the government has refused to make any compromises.

What do you think about Erdogan’s government?

According to Steinbach, Turkey is going through a process of cautious Islamization. “On the one hand, Islam is cautiously returning to the center of society; on the other hand, there is a continued process of moving closer to Europe.” He would not deny the fact that there are radicals in Turkey. “But the current Turkish government is anything but radical. This is a form of Islam which fits into a secular, laical system. This secular system fits in with Europe as well,” according to Steinbach. “My Turkish friends are all skeptical about Mr. Erdogan. But in the end he took a pragmatic line in the discussions about criminal law reform, about the punishability of adultery, tending toward a Europeanization of the criminal code.”
However, Wehler regards the “re-Islamization” under Erdogan as problematic, while criticizing the EU Commission’s progress report as “sloppy”. “Nowhere does it mention Erdogan’s re-Islamization”. For example, he notes, 60,000 state-paid prayer leaders have been hired. Also, it does not mention the fact that there has been no legal reform to address the problem that half of all women are married against their will or that one man in five has several wives.
Turkey Could Be a Stabilisation Factor for Europe

One of the reasons why many in Europe remain sceptical about Turkey’s accession to the EU is the putative social and political destabilisation. Karin Wedra, however, argues that the opposite could be the case.
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Turkey’s Prime Minister Erdogan has worked hard to move his country closer to Europe | Turkey’s status as a part of Europe has recently become a topic of fierce discussion. EUROPOLITAN Magazine is participating in the debate and asking whether Europe can afford to fob off the partner on the Bosporus with a “privileged partnership.”
The issue of Turkey’s membership in the EU is actually an old sawhorse. The concept of Turkish membership has officially existed since the 1963 Association Agreement and was once again reinforced with the tax union of 1995. Its possible membership was confirmed in principle by the European Council in 1997.
Now, over 40 years later, there is suddenly talk of a ‘Turkish threat.’ The putative dangers lie, chiefly, in the governability of the EU, in geostrategic factors and in Islamic culture.
The argument that Europe can no longer cope with Turkey’s entry into the EU appears rather flimsy. In the face of the recent eastern expansion, which after all admitted ten new countries to the EU, the claim that the Union will overextend itself and become unmanageable loses credibility.
For if even a country like Turkey should be too much to bear after the eastern expansion, it begs the question why these countries were granted membership when Turkey had a longer-standing claim.

Fears and objections

The objection that Turkey, from a purely geographical perspective, actually does not belong to Europe is frequently raised. But then, what about Norway or Switzerland? On the map both countries belong to Europe – should they, therefore, be forced to join? Brussels is as close to Ankara as Helsinki, which suggests that the European Community is based primarily on political and not geographical factors.
When cultural aspects are examined, however, the debate really becomes controversial. More than ever, fear of Islam, a foreign culture, becomes an issue. Voices insisting that an economically and politically united Europe be limited to the Christian culture and the West are loudest.
Turkey, however, represents a moderate Islam – a point that is forgotten again and again – and should not be equated with the growing fundamentalist tendencies in the Middle East.

20 million Muslims already in the EU

Moreover, an argument based on religious criteria does not work for future EU member Bulgaria, whose population is 84% orthodox Christian and at least 12% Muslim. And thus the questions arise with regard to the 20 million Muslims already working and living in the EU: are they second class citizens? Do we want to suggest that they are not really welcome?
Integration of its Muslim citizens is a vital question for the European countries. An exclusion of Turkey on religious grounds sends a disastrous signal.
At the same time, Europe and especially Germany are viewed by Turkey as a kind of economic driving force. Turkey can be counted among Germany’s most important trade partners.
Recently Prime Minister Blair and Chancellor Schröder stood as a united front for Turkey and supported the country’s bid for membership in the EU. Yet, their support was not unequivocal.
Turkey faces a rather stiff entrance examination. During a brief visit to Ankara, Blair repeatedly called on Premier Erdogan to do everything in his power to meet the Copenhagen criteria.
The rules for Turkey are clearly defined. Just as for every other country seeking membership, the Copenhagen Criteria serve here as the basis for membership negotiations. They make provisions for institutional stability and guarantee democratic order, the preservation of human rights as well as the protection of minorities.

Seven harmonisation pacts implemented

Since its recognition as a candidate for membership in 1999, the Turkish government has done all it can to meet these requirements. With the seven harmonisation pacts thus far implemented by the government, the most significant steps have been taken towards its acceptance into the Union.
These steps include the abolition of the death penalty, gender equality, freedom of expression and protection from torture. The Turkish government has made an effort to restrict Islamic political influences on policy; thus for example veils are strictly forbidden in all public buildings, a sign of Turkey’s pro-West orientation.

Turkey as a stabilisation factor for Europe

However, the issue is more than just the introduction of Turkey’s still backward national economy into the EU. Turkey’s entry into the EU is, above all, a strategic decision that must be made in Brussels.
It can assume a leadership role in the increasingly brutal conflict between Islamic countries and the West, becoming a bridge between the West and the Middle East thus supporting a political stabilisation of Islamic trouble spots.
For young Muslims, a European Islam would offer the opportunity to adopt new, more peaceful avenues than their parents while respecting and following their beliefs and traditions. It would certainly be easier to steer clear of the problems in the Arabic world.
But this approach will accomplish nothing. If Europe does not agree to membership negotiations or holds back a ‘Yes’ too long, the fundamentalist powers of Islam will increase in popularity and Turkey will systematically distance itself from Europe.
To leave Turkey as a disgruntled neighbour standing at the door with a ‘privileged partnership’ represents the real danger for Europe.
Monika Griefahn

A Textbook Example of Dialogue between Cultures

Many critics of Turkey’s accession to the European Union are ignorant of the country’s historical and current political situation – thereby turning a blind eye on the opportunities, argues Monika Griefahn, member of the German Bundestag.
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Monika Griefahn | Reactions to the terrorist attacks in Turkey this past November brought one thing to light: achieving a relationship with Turkey that is free of prejudice is still a far-off goal. Many people insinuated that the terrorist attacks perpetrated by fundamentalists had something to do with Turkey’s political system, or at least suggested such a connection. People have always acted, and continue to act, as if Turkey were an Islamic state rather than a secular one.
German politicians have made statements tending in this direction, while not coming right out and admitting to this opinion. At the same time, the question of whether Turkey should join the EU has been linked with the attacks and the supposed security risks that would ensue.
But it is simply shameful to instrumentalize the bombing victims in Istanbul in this way. The attackers’ target is Turkey as a state, since in their eyes the secular political system there strives too hard to affiliate itself with the West.

Striving to combine Islam and democracy

Thus, critics are discrediting a model that endeavors to combine Islam and democracy with a secular constitution. The Islamic terrorists hope to spread fear throughout Europe, as if the threat of terror were just outside the door. But whoever gives into this fear mongering and thinks that rejecting Turkey’s EU candidacy is a solution to the problem, is greatly mistaken.
Because, first of all, this kind of attitude is playing right into the hands of the terrorists; and second, Turkey would also be following the terrorists’ game plan were it to give in and turn away from NATO and the democratic path.
Regional instability and a Turkey that drifts back and forth between the conflicts in the Middle East and Central Asia would be the result – one that would genuinely put Europe at risk. Europe would thus be well advised not to break off the dialogue. For, in the final analysis, this is the only way to achieve improvements for all of us.

Problematic issues that need to be resolved

Admittedly, there are some problematic issues in our relationship with Turkey that must be resolved to everyone’s satisfaction. Nevertheless, we should continue to follow the road map that foresees the launch of accession negotiations by the end of 2004.
The accession decision will depend on the fulfillment of certain political criteria. Deficits in human rights issues, freedom of opinion, cultural rights, and the independence of the judicial system still remain and must not under any circumstances be swept under the rug. In these areas Turkey still has a long way to go.

Turkey has been astounding his critics

However, the country has already made great strides in the short time since the Erdogan administration has been in power, astounding many critics and demonstrating Turkey’s will to meet the EU criteria.
An important part of the candidacy discussion is being carried out, at least implicitly, on the cultural level.
The headscarf debate is merely the most conspicuous example. It shows that the questions that truly divide us are more of a cultural, or ostensibly religious, nature. This can also be seen in the day-to-day contact between Turks and Germans living together in Germany.

The prospect of successful Turkish-German dialogue

The problems here are so diverse that they call for urgent attention at home, parallel to the European unification process, in order to create a national basis for understanding and dialogue. If we succeed at this, Turks and Germans living together in harmony could form a prime example for cross-cultural dialogue.
In Germany today, there is a great deal of discussion about immigration and integration: for example, the issue of dual citizenship and the work of the immigration commission. These tend to be viewed as purely domestic issues.
The truth is, however, that they are closely related to the cultural dimension of European unification, and to the exigencies and opportunities that exist in the realm of foreign cultural policy, which has pledged itself to “unity in diversity.”

Politicians must face up to integration of immigrants

The high proportion of Turkish and other immigrants in Germany’s population, and their integration into society, pose both challenges and opportunities, but are in any case an absolute must for politicians to face up to.
Everyday reality without Italian restaurants, without Turkish and Arab snack shops or dance groups at folk festivals, is simply inconceivable. Germany is not defined ethnically, culturally or religiously. Therefore, it is possible for people from many different ethnic backgrounds to live together here, each group preserving its own culture.

Against a policy of isolation

The basis for this is formed by the German Constitution, with its guarantees, such as religious freedom, and its duties, which pertain to everyone.
Integration policies and their networking with other political fields must be viewed as a whole, particularly since their impact outside the country is often underestimated.
The international cultural relationships entered into by German politics are characterized by give and take. Of course, German foreign policy does not attempt to be value-free, but is instead committed to democratization and human rights, to fighting poverty and achieving sustainable improvements.
This also goes for European cultural policy, which in addition must be more strongly oriented towards diversity and better integrated into joint foreign and security policies. This is also the case when it comes to Turkey, which in these terms can perhaps be seen even more clearly as a part of Europe. Only in this way can we counteract terrorism in Turkey and elsewhere – and not by exercising a policy of isolation.

Giacomo Luciano

Islam - Obstacle on the Way to Europe?

Turkey has been a secular state at least since Atatürk’s revolution. There are trends and movements in Turkey that are related to Islam - phenomena which oppose closer ties to the EU, argues Giacomo Luciano.
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The debate on Turkey’s EU entry has often centered on religion | Factually, Islam has become a significant element of Europe’s cultural landscape due to immigration, a certain amount of religious conversion and because there are European states, such as Bulgaria, where Islam represents a sizeable minority.
Current estimates indicate that roughly 12 million people of the Muslim faith live in the present 15 nations of the European Union. This figure does not include unregistered immigration, so the actual number of Muslims could be considerably higher.
From this perspective, Islam is the second or third largest religion in the EU, depending on whether we consider Christianity in its entirety or whether we only consider Catholicism.
Most governments of EU Member States recognize the presence of important Muslim elements in some form or another. In the past few months, governments have stressed that they reject the concept of “clashing cultures”.
The EU does not have only one model for the relations between states and religions. The subsidiarity principle spawned numerous models in different membership states. The same holds true for key elements in relations between a state and its citizens.
The origins of different solutions go back a long way in history and thus, cannot be easily bent or changed. Periodic tension in one Member State or the other inevitably leads to heated debates.
Citizens who felt that their right to religious freedom was disregarded on several occasions have taken their cases to the European Court for Human Rights. This also happened in Turkey, for instance, because the state imposed restrictions in order to administer Islamic law, for example dress codes.
Theoretically, the question of defining a European model for relations between state and religion may arise again in the future. The possibility seems to be remote but it could cause a dangerous polarization within the community.
It is reasonable to assume that it would be impossible to reach a broad consensus if Europe were to be defined as an exclusively Christian entity, even though this would contradict history and present-day reality.
Different doctrines and aims, as well as international and domestic wars have played a fundamental role in modeling Europe and will continue to do so in the future.
The consequences of past events will always be a topic of debate and will comprise of differing opinions. Such issues will always be raised as an argument against the accession of states shaped by Islam.
Turkey is doubtlessly a secular state. It has stressed this standpoint since its founder’s, Kemal Atatürk’s, revolution. Secularism is one of the most important principles of Kemalist Ideology, which prevails in the country’s politics (and contrary to popular European doubt, the army firmly defends this principle if it is questioned.)

Islamic Turkey?

Turkey has already been a secular state in the past, as the Ottoman Caliphate was essentially a state authority above religion. An example of the secularization of religion would have been Henry the VIII , King of Rome.
No one would ever dream of questioning the secular nature of the United Kingdom because the Queen is the Head of the Church, and the same could be said of the Ottoman Empire, which was a form of Islamic secularization, and in fact, not the first one in history.
But neither the Ottoman nor the Kemalist models have been able to resolve the problematic relationship between Islam and politics. Islam, as we know it, does not allow differences between religion and state: it only accepts a government when it is just, i.e. Islamic.
This, of course, is the conviction of all Muslims. A great number of them live in countries where political legitimacy rests on phenomena and principles that have nothing to do with religion.
It has become quite obvious that the prospect of Islamic rule does not seem attractive to majority of people who live in countries in which Islam is the main religion.
It is also true that a similar separation between religion and politics was not readily accepted in the past. Instead, the conflict spanned over centuries and the separation was established only after much bloodshed.
“Integral” tendencies in European politics resurface over and over again and are evidence of the difficulties of separating personal ethics from political preferences. Europe has always had intense debates on abortion, euthanasia, and the boundaries of medicine and opinions were strongly influenced by religious convictions.
With this thought in mind, the process of internalizing the separation of religion and state seems to be less advanced in Islamic states than in Europe. This can be interpreted in many ways. Many attribute the political underdevelopment to the restrictions of political debates.
Opposition in discourse mostly falls to the monopolists in this field, the mosques. Others insist that Islam is so different from other religions that a separation between religion and politics cannot be accepted.
The question “why” remains unanswered and it is a reason to be disconcerted. Political Islamism is a dangerous phenomenon because it can lead to fanatic behavior, which can sometimes be characterized by irreverence towards human life, as we all know.
Europe should not be indifferent to the developments in the Islamic world. Quite the contrary: It is an innate European interest to support all countries which advocate the principle of secularism, even if the majority of the population is Muslim.
Turkey is not alone in this category but is certainly one of the most important and obvious examples. Political Islamist trends and movements in Turkey are forces which surely do not condone Turkey’s approaches towards Europe and eventual membership to the European Union.
In my opinion, these forces should not be underestimated. At the same time, they should clearly be eliminated and the European perspective is a vital means.

Fragile Secularism

Indeed, all those in Turkey who see Europe as hope for the future of their country and are patiently working towards becoming a member of the European Union have, one goal in the back of their minds: They want to create conditions which consolidate the separation between religion and state.
The secular nature of the Turkish state remains fragile and even reversible, just as its democratic institutions or macro-economic stabilization policies and the increasing trust in the force of the market in terms of its distribution of resources.
Turkey is no different from other EU candidate countries. They would all like to enter the Union, some at very substantial short-term political costs, because they see the EU as an anchor that stabilizes their volatile democracies and difficult economic transitions.
If this were not the case, European enlargement would lose its momentum and urgency. The pro-European forces in Turkey know very well that if the country were to be left behind by the rest of Europe, the democratic and secular institutions and economic policies would be put to the test.
The EU (justifiably) disapproves of Turkish military power over state institutions and yet this wardship is the unsatisfactory and short-term response to fundamental fragility which will only be remedied when Turkey is introduced to the rest of Europe.
The political Islamic forces in Turkey reject closer ties to the EU and have had moderate success in building up alternative connections to Arabic states, Iran and central Asia. This strategy may not be a particularly attractive alternative to the EU, but it is still an important topic in Turkish political discussions.
The European route has not been one that has been determined to be the goal of Turkish politics: it is a strong but also fragile current which demands efforts and commitment from both Turkey and the EU.
A series of problems has to be dealt with and solved and Islam is one of them, not necessarily on the diplomatic level between Ankara and Brussels because this topic can be easily accepted due to secular references on both sides.
But Islam will be a public topic and a topic of parliamentary debate for a long time to come. This is neither strange nor unique. There are enough prejudices and reservations in Europe which thrive on lingual and geographic issues.
One can already speak of success in a situation where such reciprocal mistrust no longer results in bloodshed, although this does happen from time to time – and tragically has in recent times as well.
François Skvor

Turkish Intellectuals and Europe

Europe represents a slippery and elusive object of desire for Turkey, but Turkish intellectuals are wondering whether it might not be best to define Europe before beginning to covet it. A background analysis by François Skvor
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The Turkish press is currently experiencing a heated intellectual debate | The modernisation of Turkey was meant to take the institutional form of a triangle, with the army at the apex, supported by a secular administration, and all resting on a broad base of progressive intellectuals.
Yet this modernisation has consistently found itself caught between two contradictory impulses. On the one side, there is the vessel of the State, sailing Turkey Westwards into a kind of “Europeanised” development - that is, national, secular and positivist. And on the other side, there is the concept of “social progress”, acting as an anchor in the East - the guarantee of national independence in the face of Western imperial encroachment.
Although during the course of several coups d’État, the intellectuals have been expelled from this progressive triangle, the original problem has not disappeared. It cuts a perpendicular line across society and touches every perspective. And it is never so striking as when the attention centres on Europe - a frequent focal point in Turkish intellectual and political debate.
The beginning of negotiations for accession to the European Union, which it is hoped will take place in spring 2005, would conclude the long march instigated by Atatürk, the father of the Republic. It could even be seen as the culmination of the thousand-year-old migration of the Turkish people westwards.
These negotiations are therefore endowed with a very strong symbolic significance. In the words of Ismet Berkan, the editor of the daily newspaper Radikal, ‘Turkey is experiencing the most crucial eighteen months of its history. I can only compare it to the period of the negotiation of the Lausanne Treaty in 1923’ (15/07/03).

The silent coup d’État

These circumstances are causing the re-emergence of the imperialist question. Fast-approaching deadlines and the acceleration of reforms demanded by Brussels reinforce the assumptions of that school of thought which sees globalisation, of which the EU is simply one symptom, as a threat to national independence.
Erol Manisali is a figurehead of this movement. Professor of economics in Istanbul, and columnist for the daily newspaper Cumhuriyet (The Republic), he has won renown defending his theory of a ‘silent coup d’État’ orchestrated both by the EU since 1995 and by the signing of the customs union with Turkey.
‘To enter or not to enter? They keep the debates about the EU going by trying to make us count rhinoceroses, Ionesco-style. The signing of the customs union agreement is nothing less than an act of colonisation. The recognition of Turkey’s status as a candidate country in 1999 was simply a decoy designed to bind our country more tightly to the European Union.’
Mümtaz Soysal, adviser to the Cypriot-Turk President, and Attila Ilhan, author and journalist, take the same tone: it is equally prevalent on the right and on the left, revealing a significant minority of nationalist persuasion.
The idea of a conspiracy is never far off. Suspicion is naturally amplified by ambiguous political attitudes in Brussels, coupled with stalling tactics. It is also exacerbated by the strategic absences of an EU which considers its enlargement less as a political act than as a natural process driven by issues of identity.
‘At a time when Bush’s clique is deciding to destroy the world security structure, the Commission in Brussels believes that it can console its closest neighbours with the small rewards of prosperity and freedom of movement.

A diagnosis of schizophrenia not far from being accurate

This is an attitude that speaks volumes about the delicate situation currently faced by the EU. A diagnosis of schizophrenia is not far from being accurate.’ This is what Ahmet Insed wrote on the 23rd of March this year in reaction to Prodi and Patten’s proposal regarding the idea of a circle of countries friendly to the Union.
‘While dreaming of a buffer circle of friendly countries intended to preserve it from barbarians, perhaps the EU will wake up one day surrounded by those other barbarians with civilised faces from the extreme West’
A lecturer at Paris I university as well as at the Istanbul Galatasaray university, Ahmet Insel contributes to the magazine entitled Birikim, and runs the Iletisim publishing house.
Specialising in questioning contemporary economic dogma (Mustafa Sönmez, Korkut Boratav) and in the analysis of new forms of domination, this laboratory of the new left, allergic to ideological reflexes, represents an intellectual point of reference in Turkey. Considered to be the driving force behind Turkish democratisation, the EU does not escape their scrutiny.
Oral Calislar, an intimate friend of Yachar Kemal, is an author and columnist for the Cumhuriyet newspaper. He defends the converging positions, and last March, wrote:
‘Turkish leaders have only ever made use of the gap between the EU and the United States in the context of narrow, short term political calculations. They have never thought that it could become a strategically important difference.
That is why the process of joining the EU has always been warped in Turkey: the general mentality which decides the destiny of this country has never been capable of assimilating European democratic values’.
Popular opinion about Europe is hazy and ill defined, with no precise conception the implications of joining the EU. There is the accepted idea of a kind of schizophrenia, according to which ‘Brussels stands for prosperity and Washington, security’ (Ahmet Insel).
This is a consensus of opinion shared in financial circles, liberals united by moderate Islamists whose political party, the AKP (Justice and Development Party), is currently in power.
The European torpor described by Ahmet Insel and the haziness of the Turkish consensus on Europe evoked by Oral Calislar are simply two sides of the same phenomenon. This popular opinion is European just as much as it is Turkish.
The Turkish challenge will only be taken up in the context of building Europe strategically, politically and socially.
Europe represents an opportunity for Turkey, and vice versa. Turkey’s accession must take on a significance other than that of the extension of the common market if this opportunity is not to be lost both for Turkey, condemned to a ‘silent coup d’État’, and for Europe, heading towards the dilution predicted by Washington, an ardent supporter of Turkey’s candidature for the EU.

The Eastern Question

This intellectual left, which campaigns for strong EU integration, once more comes up against the imperialist question of origins. Rather than perceiving the consequence as a struggle for independence, it considers the different aspects of the issue, orientalism according to Edward Saïd, and a united, progressive concept of identity, on a European level.
‘The stance taken by Mr Giscard D’Estaing against Turkey’s entry into the EU, for reasons linked to the question of identity, has compelled pro-Europeans, who are against such a culturalist position, to support Turkey’, states Ahmet Insel.
‘Orientalism is learning born of strength’, maintains Edward Saïd. That is, learning which keeps opinion in shackles.
‘This kind of reasoning, which argues, “You belong to the third world just as you belong to Islam. Your system isn’t perfect but it is the best you can hope for”, is no longer prevalent among many intellectuals but still represents a pervasive vision of the world.
If, however, somebody (ie the EU) asks us to rethink our democracy and to bring it in line with some general criteria, then it is a sign that we are being taken seriously. It signals the end of contempt for the East’ writes Murat Belge, a journalist and essayist published by Iletisim. (4/07/03)
The strategy of the Turkish left is this: to defeat the strength of orientalist learning, not through rearguard struggles against imperialist forces, but by breaking the inner mechanism through unique representation of identity and the idea of natural, necessary development.
Destroying the myths surrounding the left as well as the right, it is pursuing a third, inevitably European, way, between withdrawal and introversion on one side and total uniformisation on the other. This strategy brings to mind the compromise once sought by Atatürk between capitalism and communism.


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