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Office of Research Issue Focus Foreign Media Reaction

December 18, 2002

December 18, 2002





**  Most observers held that the EU's addition of 10 new members beyond its Western European core marks a "true revolution" that nonetheless entails "enormous challenges."

**  The "Turkish question" remains, but most see eventual Turkish membership.




Still ahead: great challenges and perhaps more influence--  By adding 10 countries, the EU effected a "true revolution" and "created an unknown geography for Europe" that soon may extend to Syria and Iraq, European writers opined.  Madrid's leading left-of-center El Pais held, though, that neither the EU nor its new members are "prepared for this big embrace."  Despite the challenges ahead, many saw Europe becoming a stronger "protagonist" in the world--"finally taking up" its responsibilities, a German paper said.  A French daily stated that the new EU " with its ambitions" as well, seeing a stronger polity able to "promote democratic values" abroad while counter-balancing the "hegemonic temptations" of other powers.


Most see Turkey in the EU's future...eventually--  The EU's decision to defer negotiations on the admission of Turkey sparked "understandable" disappointment in Ankara.  Some Turkish dailies opined that "the EU is not ready to digest" a Muslim country and laid the blame on the unresolved Cyprus issue or opposition from a "German-French axis."  Others, like center-right mass-appeal Sabah, added that "Turkey is not ready" for the EU, as "our democracy and our economy are below the standards."  Most EU-country papers saw an eventual Turkish accession, anywhere from "a few years" to 15 years down the road.  Britain's conservative Times observed that "it is high time the EU showed more wisdom" in dealing with "so essential" a country.  A German daily held that "it will now depend" on Ankara to undertake the "inevitably unpopular reforms" required to join the Union.  Belgium's left-of-center Le Soir, meanwhile, applauded the EU's "courageous decision" to resist the U.S.-backed "Turkish steam-roller," holding that Turkey is not ready to join "for the simple reason that it does not meet the minimum democratic and economic conditions."


Naysayers still resist the idea of a Turkish 'Trojan Horse'--  Most who opposed Turkey's accession criticized the country's economic performance or human-rights record.  A few commentators maintained that Turkey--"a state that has modernized itself only on the surface"--could not be admitted to the EU without, as one German writer put it, "totally changing the character" of the EU.  A British writer, though averring admiration for the Turks and respect for Islam, agreed that admitting Turkey in a Europe "profoundly shaped by up to two millennia of Christian culture" could "bring to nought" the idea of "ever-closer union."


EDITOR:  Steven J. Wangsness

EDITOR'S NOTE:  This analysis is based on 49 reports from 20 countries, 12/12-12/17.  Editorial excerpts from each country are listed by most recent date.




BRITAIN:  "EU Summit Has Angered A Vital Ally"


The conservative Times commented (12/14):  "Many EU members are wondering how such a sudden and large influx will change not only the character but the viability of the EU, and how their own influence and access to funds will be diluted.  Some countries, such as France, still selfishly want to protect their privileged farmers from competition.  And some...are still deeply uneasy at the prospect of East Europeans competing in their labour markets....  Another worry is that the commitment to admit Cyprus comes before the island has resolved its 28-year division.


"Turkey holds the key to a resolution in Cyprus--one of the many areas where Turkish goodwill and co-operation are essential to European and Western interests.  This, therefore, is one of the many reasons why the issue of eventual Turkish EU membership is so important.  It was, however, handled at Copenhagen with diplomacy almost as clumsy as the German-inspired veto that dropped Turkey from the list of applicant countries in 1997. On coming to office the new Turkish Government gave an immediate commitment to continue the political, economic and human rights reforms to qualify for membership....  Britain, to its credit, opposed the bigoted opposition of those...who argued that Turkey's Muslim heritage has no place in the EU.  But although Britain, Spain, Italy and Greece--in an extraordinary turnabout--pushed for an early date to open negotiations, nine countries insisted on waiting until December 2004 before even assessing whether Turkey had moved fast enough.  The Scandinavian countries based their opposition on Turkey's human rights record, France and Germany on more narrowly chauvinist and protectionist grounds.  Opponents used the canard that American championing of a country essential to any Iraq operation had been counter-productive.  Turkey was furious at being snubbed again, but bit its lip and said it would do its utmost to begin talks in two years' time.  This is a wise response.  It is high time the EU showed more wisdom in dealing with a country so essential to its interests and so keen to be a member."


"Turkey Must Not Join the Christian EU"


John Casey held in the conservative Daily Telegraph (12/13):  "This week's Summit in Copenhagen about EU enlargement will have to solve tricky problems about the admission of economically backward countries from the old Soviet empire.  But these are as nothing compared with the truly radical question we must also begin to face: what is to be done about Turkey?  On yesterday's Thought for the Day, the Bishop of Oxford argued for Turkey's admission on grounds of Christian 'inclusiveness.'  Is it about to become politically incorrect to have doubts?  Not if we are to believe Valery Giscard D'Estaing.  A few weeks ago he finally said it: Turkey must never be a member of the European Union...because Turkey is not a European country. To admit this huge Muslim, non-European state, he says, would mean the end of the European Union.


"Giscard said aloud what many European leaders (including Erich Stoiber of Germany) undoubtedly feel....  The Turkish question is a much more acute version of a problem that could in the long run bring to nought the dreams of those who seek 'ever closer union' in Europe itself.  How can there be a European 'state'--how can there be a common sense of allegiance among citizens of the EU--where there is no common language, where there is such cultural diversity, and where the political and legal traditions of at least one important European country--the United Kingdom--differ so radically from those of many of the others?  Yet the European idealists can point to two great facts to oppose the sceptics.  Almost all of Europe has a Christian inheritance, which means that the great majority of us, whether believers or not, are profoundly shaped by up to two millennia of Christian culture. You can only think this does not matter profoundly if you fail to see how culture overwhelmingly makes us what we are, and does help give us a sense of European identity despite the manifold differences....  I respect the Turks and admire Islam, but I do not think we should ever break down the walls and admit this particular Trojan horse."


FRANCE:  "Europe’s Ambitions"


Patrick Sabatier judged in left-of-center Liberation (12/14):  “Just because Europe is expanding it does not mean its basic concept must change radically.  America’s pressure to include Turkey in the EU stems from a vision limiting the EU to an economic entity incapable of defining its joint political future.  The debate on the future of the EU must go beyond discussing its borders and deal with its ambitions.  Europe can impose its collective power on imperial nation states such as the U.S., Russia and soon China.  Not with the intention of opposing them, but to counterbalance hegemonic temptations and promote democratic values as well as a multilateral dialogue.”


"American Arrogance"


Michel Schifres held in an editorial in right-of-center Le Figaro (12/13):  "George W. Bush...telephoned a head of state--Jacques Chirac--and intervened in an affair of which he cannot be the master, namely Turkey's entry to the European Community that is to be decided by the Europeans alone.  Chirac is not the only one....  Bush...contacted, on repeated occasions, all of Europe's principal leaders.  This is why the pressure amounts to meddling, or intervention if one prefers more diplomatic language.  But whatever one calls it, it is quite simply intolerable.  These days the United States respects no niceties in making known what it wants and in trying to impose its will.  To the point where the simplism and brutality of its President is discouraging even its closest partners.


"Ankara's adhesion to the Union is a matter of utmost importance to the Americans....  [Turkey] has always been a valuable friend to the Americans, in the past when they had to counter communism and today when seeking to untangle the crisis in the Middle East....  We have come a long way from the days when Bush's advisers suggested that he should present himself as the 'humble giant' and when the U.S. president, on his first tour of Europe, said he had come to listen....  Since then, September 11 and the war against international terrorism have made the attitude of the Americans so inflexible....  One dares not imagine what Washington's reaction would be if a European leader telephoned Bush to ask him to open up his country's border with Mexico, or even to return to it the territories...that were previously Mexican!"


GERMANY:  "Acting Together"


Thomas Klau stated in an editorial in business daily Financial Times Deutschland of Hamburg (12/17):  “It is likely that Turkish EU membership will have a positive impact on the crisis in the Middle East and on the development of a European foreign policy.  Experience shows that the EU manages to coordinate its foreign policy when the stability of its outer borders is at stake....  As soon as the EU countries share an essential and economically relevant interest...even deeply anchored national traditions take second place behind the need for purposeful European action....  In light of Turkey’s membership, which is likely to come in a few years, the EU countries will soon try everything in their power to contain the crisis in the Middle East....  A Europe willing to put pressure on Israelis and Palestinians and offer financial rewards would be a significant peace factor in the Middle East crisis....  Chances are that the Europeans and the Americans will enter into a good-natured competition for achieving peace in the region, and that would be the best thing possible for the peace process.”


"The Mega Union"


Christian Wernicke opined in an editorial in center-left Sueddeutsche Zeitung of Munich (12/16):  “The EU summit...made history and with its invitation to Turkey, created a new unknown geography for Europe.  At the latest in ten years, it will reach to Syria and Iraq.  In addition, a new front has opened for the European Union: as of today, its Rapid Reaction Force--with support of NATO but without the United States--can dare to conduct emergency missions in Africa or back the fragile peace in the Balkans.  Ten years after the disgrace from Sarajevo and Srebrenica, Europe is finally taking up its responsibility in its own backyard....  Chancellor Schroeder and President Chirac led the EU to new borders.  This fact and the addition of ten new members forces the EU to measure its internal borders again.  Without such a deepening, the Mega Union will fail because of its size....  The most important task of the EU is to create a European balance of order that creates more democracy, less self-blockade and clear structures for its citizens.  And this cannot happen without another Franco-German tour de force"


"The Engagement Party From Copenhagen"


Michael Stuermer judged in an editorial in right-of-center Die Welt of Berlin (12/16):  “It is uncertain what the EU Europeans will experience once Turkey will...become a member of the club.  But is even more uncertain what Turkey is now heading for.  Turkey’s political class, irrespective of whether it is the old one or the hopeful one of today is trying to flee to the future to get rid of its economic misery, political structural crisis and the strengthening of Islam.  Unlike the leaders on the Bosporus think and the U.S.-Franco-German sponsors hope, it is by no means clear whether the envisaged EU accession of Turkey will bring luck.  If Turkey turns into a lighthouse of modern times for the Islamic world, the EU will make world history.  But if Turkey’s hopes for Europe end in bitterness, it will turn into bad luck for Turkey and the EU....  The engagement party from Copenhagen will confront the EU, which has not made any progress over the past years with respect to finding a balance between deepening and enlargement, with the question of its future borders, and Turkey with the issue of its identity.  If everything turns out well, it will be global strike of luck, but if it does not work, it will be a disaster for all


"Turkey’s Perspectives"


Left-of-center Frankfurter Rundschau (12/16) opined:  “In Copenhagen, the EU confirmed Turkey’s prospects for its accession to the EU.  It will now depend on Prime Minister Guel when and whether they will be realized....  The necessary structural changes require deep and inevitably unpopular reforms.  The government must also initiate political reforms, including a reform of the role of the military....  The government could also face a trial of strength with the military in the Cyprus question....  But if Turkey wants to become a concrete candidate, it must resolve this question.  Once the EU decides over accession talks with Turkey, the Greek Cypriots will also sit at the negotiating table.  But we can hardly expect them to approve accession talks as long as 35,000 Turkish soldiers continue to occupy Northern Cyprus.”


Broadcast Commentary:


P. Sappok commented on national radio station Deutschlandfunk of Cologne (12/14):  “Turkey does not belong to Europe, but it has its place in a European Union as we see it today.  If [the EU] promotes economic development in ten countries as a guarantee for political stability, then it must also grant it to Turkey.  As far as geo-strategy is concerned, Turkey is of great use.  With Turkey’s acceptance, the European voice would get a different weight. But then the EU should forget about the idea of the European Union being more than a loose union of countries that share the same interests, have a common history, a common culture, and common traditions.  With Turkey’s acceptance, the European Union will again change its face, and this would mean to finally bid farewell to the old EU.  Other nations around the Mediterranean or further in the East would like to join the EU and--then it would hardly be possible to refuse them entry.  And nobody doubts anyway that the Balkan nations will soon become members, too.  But the European Union missed not only the chance to restructure itself shortly before the current enlargement round, but it also missed the opportunity to think about its nature and about its borders.  It is on the path to a large free trade zone, a path from which there is no return, at best a new beginning.  And this can only mean:  the formation of a core Europe made up of nations that are really willing for a deepen integration.”


Jochen Thies argued in a commentary on national radio station DeutschlandRadio of Berlin (12/14):  “If Europe still has a chance, then it must find itself and re-organize--without Turkey. Like Russia, Turkey cannot become a EU member.  Turkey, a land without reformation and enlightenment, a state that has modernized itself only on the surface cannot become a member of the European Union without totally changing the character of the European union of nations.  Seen from this point of view, the great encyclopedias of the 18th century are still an unerring source.  Please look under the term ‘Europe.’"


Jurgen Irmler had this to say in another commentary on national radio station Deutschlandfunk of Cologne (12/14):  “This summit did not send a clear signal to Turkey....  The EU leaders did not give Ankara a green light for accession talks but kept Turkey in the balance.  Pressure from the outside, even if it comes from the Bush administration, does not pay.  The called for clear signal from Copenhagen was a signal to the United States:  Not This Way. Even blackmail attempts will not bring Turkey closer to the EU.  On the contrary, the EU must now focus on integrating ten new states…and move ahead with the deepening of the Union that was neglected so miserably with these accessions.  And the new Turkish government needs time to successfully conclude the reforms it has initiated.  There are good reasons speaking for Turkey's full membership, not in five, but at the earliest in 15 years.”


ITALY:    "Europe Revealed, Thanks to Turkey"


Barbara Spinelli commented in centrist, influential Turin La Stampa (12/15):  "It is with a genuine sense of embarrassment that, in the days following the Copenhagen summit and in the weeks following the triumph of the Muslim party in Turkey, Europeans addressed the issue of Ankara's accession to the European Union.  All of a sudden, European governments found themselves not knowing what to say or do....  Only the U.S. administration was sure of itself....  Without mincing words, and peremptorily, it called on Europe to seize this historic opportunity, to play along with U.S. strategic designs, and to throw open its doors to Turkey.


"Turkey's request to join the Union has finally placed on Europe's doorstep the most burdensome and serious task in its history. Thanks to Turkey, the Europeans are being called on in the coming months and years to not only say who they are, but what they want to become, what collective institution they want to create, and what kind of common statehood and common sovereignty they want to give life to.  So far, they have been ambiguous; now they are compelled to say what they want concerning their own future....  Is Ankara ready to share this sovereignty with the Europeans and therefore relinquish a substantial part of it?  Or...will it behave like another United Kingdom, forever jealous of its own national prerogatives and of its special tie with the United States?  This is the real question that Europeans should ask the candidate country, thus going well beyond such criteria as human rights, religion, and the economy."


"25-Member Europe Is Born In Copenhagen"


Romano Dapas commented in Rome's centrist daily Il Messaggero (12/14):  “The millenary European adventure is growing richer with a new, exciting page of history: the EU’s enlargement to include eight countries of the former Communist bloc and Mediterranean islands Cyprus and Malta is by now a fait accompli.  The EU is still far from achieving all of its goals, but with 25 member states and 350 million citizens the ‘Greater Europe’ is becoming a political and economic protagonist on the international scene....  It goes without saying that Europe’s re-unification process is far from being completed.  Bulgaria and Romania are still on the waiting list, have been promised additional financial help and are likely to join the EU in 2007.  Turkey’s fate seems to be a little more difficult, since it must still wait for a decision.”


RUSSIA:  "Future Uncertain"


Fyodor Lukyanov concluded in reformist Vremya Novostey (12/16):  "It is going to be hard, indeed.   'Digesting' new countries, deepening integration at the 'nucleus', and reforming government will cause a host of problems.   If things don't go the way the architects of a united Europe want them to go, the Union may turn into an unmanageable amorphous amalgamation of a three dozen states rocked by internal conflicts and endless financial disputes.  Getting through transition time successfully will lead to the emergence of a 500-million-strong mammoth on our borders, kept together by a common economy and political will.   Whether it will be able to challenge the United States, as the world's dominant power, is anybody's guess."


AUSTRIA:  "America’s Influence In Europe Is Growing"


Senior editor Helmut L. Müller opined in independent daily Salzburger Nachrichten (12/14):  "Washington is one of the winners of EU enlargement. With the new EU member states, the U.S. will gain allies that are much more reliable than the constantly nagging old-established EU countries....  Thus, enlargement may well be the beginning of the end for attempts by the EU to establish its independent foreign and security policy as a contrast to the U.S.”


BELGIUM:  "In The Waiting Room"


Foreign editor Paul De Bruyn judged in conservative Christian-Democrat Gazet van Antwerpen (12/14):  “The Turks will have to stay in the waiting room for an indefinite period of time....  Of course, the Turks knew that they could not become an EU member at the same moment as Poland or the Czech Republic.  But, they had hoped that the EU would take a more flexible attitude....  The real reason is that several countries--the Netherlands and Austria in the first place--are not keen on early EU membership for preponderantly Muslim Turkey.  With almost 70 million people, Turkey would become the most powerful EU country after Germany, with the most votes in the Minister Councils.  A few years from now, it will even have more inhabitants than Germany -- which is indigestible not only for Germany, but also for France....  And finally, although it is never said openly, the French have one extra motive to say ‘No.’  The heavy pressure by U.S. President George Bush for Turkish EU membership irritates Paris enormously."


"A Byzantine Message To Turkey"


Christophe Lamfalussy commented in independent La Libre Belgique (12/14):  “Once again, the Fifteen did not sent a very clear message to Turkey....  The EU is a political project based on the reconciliation of people, and on humanist and Judeo-Christian values.  The EU should not reject other sensitivities and, in the case of Turkey, it should not reject a mainly Muslim country that, in the Twenties, decided to separate religion and government.  Yes, a clash of civilizations is possible if the EU decides that its borders will stop at Istanbul’s door.  Yes, Turkey will be more stable if it joins the EU than if it does not.  So, let us stop considering enlargement as a threat but rather as a mutual enrichment.”


"The Courage Of The Fifteen"


Martine Dubuisson wrote in left-of-center Le Soir (12/14): “It is understandable that Turkey is disappointed.  But the EU’s decision to make an assessment of Turkey’s progress in late 2004 before opening negotiations was a courageous decision....  The EU had the courage of resisting the Turkish steam-roller, which tried to appear as a victim of European double standards....  The EU also had the courage of not the United States’ diktats....  Uncle Sam’s letters and telephone calls turned out to be counter-productive.  Lastly, the EU had the courage of saying that Turkey is currently not ready to join the EU for the simple reason that it does not meet the minimum democratic and economic conditions.”


CYPRUS:  "What We Said Happened"


Columnist Sabahattin Ismail commented in Pro-Turkish Cypriot National Popular Movement, Nicosia Volkan (12/14):  "The result is indicative of the fact that the EU is unwilling to admit Turkey as a member.  It just wants to swallow Cyprus by acting as though it wanted to admit Turkey.  Judging from Rauf Denktas' stand, it seems that the Turkish Cypriot side will follow the following strategy:  1. If the Greek Cypriot side is admitted as the representative of the entire island, there will remain nothing to discuss.  2. Negotiating the UN document in its present shape is not possible.  3.   We shall have certain conditions in case an atmosphere of negotiations is created.   We shall first demand the removal of the embargoes.   Our second condition will be that Cyprus' EU membership should be deferred until after Turkey's full membership."


GREECE:  "The Pros And Cons Of The Summit"


Alexis Papakhelas commented in independent Athens To Vima (12/14):  "Turkey bet everything it had in Copenhagen, and lost.  Turkey's new leader, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, had too many expectations about the start of accession negotiations, without considering the risks of a failure....  In the coming days, Erdogan will face criticism from the Turkish media, from the opposition and, of course, the regime, which wants to shorten the new government's 'honeymoon' as much as possible.  The Turks made the mistake of attempting to pressure the Europeans, and it is also clear that U.S. flattery in Ankara was a little more convincing than it should have been.   Chirac and Schroeder decided to send a message to Washington once more: 'You may force us to tag along on Iraq or on other issues, but you will not decide what we do about our own affairs.'...


"In the midst of this general scene, Greece achieved its key strategic objectives: it secured the unqualified EU accession of Cyprus, convinced Turkey that intentions towards it are the best possible, and threw the ball of Turkey's EU prospects in Europe's court....  This is the good news.   The bad news is that we should not have too many illusions about the Cyprus problem ever being resolved, in any case not before Turkey senses it's 'joining the EU.'  What does this mean in practical terms?  It means that next time Athens or Nicosia raise the Cyprus problem, Europe's answer will be clear: 'We brought Cyprus in as it is, don't create more problems for us.'  The possibility of occupied territory being returned to the Greek Cypriot side seems very remote and most probably, Denktash' intransigence effectively resolved the Cyprus problem yesterday in Copenhagen."



"The Siege Continues Despite the Accession to the EU"


Rightist Athens Elevtheros Tipos held (12/14):  "The Greek Government went to the summit meeting of the European Union in Copenhagen ready to celebrate the outcome of the diplomatic battle it never gave.   Everybody knew what the Greek Government wanted:  a date for Turkey as soon as possible and the signing of a solution to the political problem of Cyprus.  The first proposal of the government did not yield results.   The second proposal led Nicosia to a deadlock.


"The unprecedented pressure that was exerted...on the Cypriot political leadership to sign the agreement for the solution to the political problem of Cyprus, just before the decision for Cyprus' accession, verifies how cornered the Republic of Cyprus was....  The obvious intention of international diplomacy (which was supported by the Greek Government also) is the cornering of the Republic of Cyprus to unite with the Turkish-Cypriot side, based on the well known proposal of the UN secretary general, until the accession agreement is approved by the national parliaments of the European Union in May 2004."


IRELAND:  "EU Defense"


The conservative, populist Irish Independent observed (12/16):  "Europe is changing quickly.  After the decision to admit 10 new members to the EU, and agreement on delayed talks with Turkey, will come soon, perhaps early in 2003, the EU's first military mission. This is planned as a relatively simple and smooth operation....but it has profound implications.  Europe will be acting in concert in the Balkans. In the long term, it could take over from the Americans, who do not wish to stay there indefinitely.  That necessitates strategic political and military decisions, and difficult choices especially on the relations between the EU and Nato."


"EU Must Be More Generous To Turkey"


The moderately conservative weekly Sunday Business Post took this view (12/15):   "Turkey has reacted with predictable fury to the European Union's decision to delay the commencement of its accession talks by two years....  The possible admission of Turkey raises the fundamental issues about how large the EU should be allowed to grow and the purpose of the union....  The Turks asked the EU simply to name a date when they can start formal negotiations.  They know that talks depend on progress towards market stability and a greatly improved human rights record. Equally, the Turks must appreciate that their country is unlikely to be ready for actual membership for perhaps another 15 years....  Turkey is a potential link between east and west.  Moreover, Turkish membership of the EU would show that western democracies do not consider Islam and democracy to be irreconcilable, provided Turkey's Muslims do not.  It is time for a more imaginative and generous approach."


"EU History"


The conservative, populist Irish Independent editorialized (12/14):  "Entrance will also be tied to a deal on Cyprus, and may ultimately clear the way for Turkish consent to NATO's sharing resources with the EU.  More importantly though, a deal with Turkey would show the world that it was possible to have a stable relationship between a powerful Muslim and secular grouping.  Yesterday's deal finally buries the Yalta Agreement which carved up Europe.  Stability, prosperity, peace and a common code of human rights should all be strengthened."


KOSOVO:  "Europe Without Balkans..."


Augustin Palokaj, Brussels correspondent of the leading newspaper in Kosovo, mass circulation, independent daily Koha Ditore commented (12/16):  “If one looks at the map of Europe after enlargement...then we will see two or three enclaves there.  One is the rich enclave of Switzerland that will stay out of EU for democratic reasons (its citizens do not want membership in EU), the second one is the Balkans...(out of EU due to security reasons) and the third enclave will be the Russian territory surrounded by Poland and Lithuania in Kaliningrad.  As long as the situation remains like this, the phrase ‘One Europe’...will become meaningless....  If the Balkans does not integrate in Europe then it will remain an isolated enclave...[and] ‘the united Europe’ will look like Kosovo today so to speak.  In order for this not to happen, the EU should seriously deal with the Balkans...[and] make efforts to include this part of Europe into the EU.”         


POLAND:  "Our Dream Has Come True"


Adam Michnik wrote in liberal Gazeta Wyborcza (12/14):  “Every nation has magic dates in its history that serve as symbols....  Such a date was the day Poland was admitted into NATO.  A new date will surely be December 13, 2002, when the European Union opened its door for us....  We are in a democratic Europe. The dream of several generations of Poles, who persistently tried to tear down the walls of totalitarian dictatorships, has come true.”


PORTUGAL:  "A Restored Europe"


Deputy editor-in-chief Nuno Pacheco editorialized in influential moderate-left daily Público (12/17):  "The Turkish question ended up dominating and rightly so the agenda of the European Council.  In this respect a good decision was made....  Not only were Turkish leaders who sought a shorter path discredited, but also the United States, which made known its preference, through an unaccustomed pressure, certainly in exchange for some commitment of [Turkey] with the North-American involvement in a war against Iraq.  The truth, however, is that Turkey is still far from being able to comply with the requirements of democratic organization and functioning that the EU established and demands of its new members....  Be that as it may, given that Turkey comes to correspond to the criteria for adhesion, its accession [to the EU] will come to be guaranteed.  As such, it will be completely the whole concept of the EU that will have changed....  From the European point of view, enlargement assumes the dimension of a true revolution.  The EU of Western Europe, built upon the divisions of the Cold War, will go beyond the borders of those divisions and march toward a pan-European EU....  The EU acronym becomes the new name for an entire Europe, expanding itself beyond its own physical borders, where signs of Europe persist, from ancient Greece and Rome.”


"The Inevitable Enlargement"


In his weekly column in leading financial daily Diário Económico, influential center-right analyst Prof. Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa noted (12/17):  "The enlargement decision was made in a period of economic and financial recession...but Europe didn’t have other alternatives.  To leave out of the enlargement these countries would have generated various potential ‘Yugoslavias’ in these regions and explosive situations at Europe’s door.  In terms of timing, the path which Europe took was not the best, but it was the only possible option.”


"A Victory In Copenhagen"


Mário Bettencourt Resendes, editor-in-chief of respected center-left daily Diário de Notícias, had this editorial comment (12-15):  “But the truth is that the Union, stimulated by the rebirth of the French-German axis, was able to make history, this week, in Copenhagen.  The road is open to create, up to the borders of Russia, a space of democracy and progress, a fundamental drive to break the cycle of confrontation that marked, during centuries and centuries, the lives of the peoples of Europe.  It is not over--nor will it end--the story of the old continent.  Besides the ‘Turkish question,’ significant tensions exist in the Balkans, one of the most vulnerable points, in terms of stability, on the periphery of the present European Union.  And still to be defined are the contours of the relationship between the Twenty-Five and Putin’s Russia with its adjacent states.  Nonetheless, Copenhagen represents a victory of big politics over public accounting.  And it is a good opportunity to remember that many big statesmen--such as Jesus Christ--didn’t know anything about finance.”


"The Enlargement"


In his back-page 'Make-Believe' column in respected center-left daily Diário de Notícias, veteran journalist Vasco Pulido Valente commented (12-15):  “'Europe' doesn’t strengthen itself with an added ‘10’:  if anything, it weakens.  By teasing, in large part and quickly, the confusion which reigns today, it loses coherence and purpose.  Its foreign policy and independent reaction force, that were going to counterbalance evil America, are now unimaginable....  The truth of the matter is that enlargement reestablishes the old German influence to the east (mainly in the Baltic), and brings together the territories of former Austria (with the exception of Croatia) in a peaceful area, that the western fringe dominates....  Enlargement has completed a political (and bureaucratic) utopia and simultaneously made disunity inevitable.  The world cannot be organized through paper and pencil.”


"History Is Made"


In a signed editorial, influential moderate-left daily Público editor-in-chief José Manuel Fernandes noted (12-14):  “The enlargement of the European Union to the East, the dream assumed by its peoples and leaders...finally has a date: June 2004....  The ideal would have been that this reunification would have been had earlier, that these new democracies wouldn’t have had to wait longer that Portugal and Spain waited, that the big embrace decided in Copenhagen would have been marked by more generosity, by the capacity to extend them a handshake with the same frankness as which, at the time, they shook hands with us.  What is more, yesterday’s decisions of Copenhagen carry are incomplete.  The European Union should have understood that this is the ideal historic moment to open the doors to Turkey....  That is the stain that is left from Copenhagen, a shadow that obscures the historic moment that occurred there.  As always, this shadow has small motives behind it.  Leaders who are more preoccupied with short-term fluctuation of their public opinions rather than [being] engaged in a better collective future.  Countries, such as Germany, that seems to have lost the generosity of the past, or like France, eternally looking for a grandeur that is clearly lost.”


ROMANIA:  "East-West Differences"


Political analyst Andreea Enea commented in the business-oriented Curentul (12/12):  “Through the decision to include at once ten new countries, the European Union assumed a great economic risk....  It is a certain fact that the differences between the east and the west are huge and will continue to be so for a long time, despite the great European project.…  Because the economies of the candidate countries are recovering with difficulty due to the decades of communism and the new open competition conditions with western products, they will be forced to conduct painful restructurings, privatizations, and closures.  Romania, too, will become an extra burden, and our integration will force us to go through the same ordeals as our neighbors.  By choosing the formula of a large expansion, Europe places at risk the economic fulfillment it needs.”


SPAIN:  "A Single Europe"


Madrid's leading left-of-center El Pais judged (12/15):  "The European Summit...established [the basis] for overcoming age-old divisions and antagonisms.... This milestone doesn't mean everything is done and dusted. The challenge is enormous because neither the current EU nor the new members are technically prepared for this big embrace that will blend them into a single Union....  Internally, the EU must change deeply....  It must head towards greater integration--even though the 'new boys' aren't very inclined to share their recently recovered sovereignty--or face the threat of being left as a mere market when this Union of 450m people becomes the world's leading economic and commercial power....


"Turkey still has a long way to go to reach the level of democracy required.  But the timescale set is reasonable to give time for the EU to digest the enlargement, for the transition in Turkey to settle, for the party in power to firmly marry the terms 'democratic' and 'Islamic,' and for the military to give up the idea of a state within a state."


 "A Union For The Whole Of Europe"


Independent El Mundo commented (12/15):  "In the end, the shopping bill shows enlargement will cost the EU coffers slightly less than initially expected, but this cold figure is of secondary importance compared to the two big conclusions reached yesterday: politically, a historic step is being taken to complete the circle of European integration begun after World War II; but economically, a period full of uncertainty is beginning, which also affects the governability of an association with so many members, languages and political traditions....  But closing the door on 10 European democracies [would have been] simply unimaginable, and this political and ethical duty must be seen as an economic opportunity and taken advantage of....  The two years granted to Turkey to comply with the accession conditions seem a prudent and balanced solution--one taken despite the pressure from the USA."


"A Conditional Yes"


Barcelona's leading conservative La Vanguardia held (12/15):  "The European Union will agree to negotiate Turkey's accession, but beforehand this country will have to show it meets the political conditions demanded to join this ever wider and more diffuse club....  Now the ball is in its court as it is the Turkish government which will have to work flat out to show it meets the political conditions....  The European Union has resisted the Turkish pressure sponsored by the USA....  The parenthesis now imposed on Turkey will not prevent the USA from seeing that the new 25 member EU looks more and more like NATO.  Countries like Poland and Hungary, previously members of the Warsaw Pact, are now openly pro-American.  With them, Europe will be bigger, but perhaps less influential."


SWEDEN:  "Success in Copenhagen"


Liberal Stockholm Dagens Nyheter editorialized (12/14):  "The EU summit completed its agenda without running overtime....  The new members' future in the EU does not depend on a billion euro here or there.  Membership is a ticket to the future opportunities that a large community offers in the form of security, economic development, and prosperity....  The EU will continue to negotiate with Bulgaria and Rumania....  And at some indefinite point in the future, there will be applications from the countries that once made up Yugoslavia.


"It is just as clear that Turkey will be able to join the EU....  This was the message to Turkey's new government....  The Turkish application has been lying in Brussels for a long time....  But this is not the EU's fault.  The responsibility lies in Ankara.  Turkish governments have simply not done enough for the country to meet the demands for democratic government and respect for human rights.  It is inconceivable that EU countries should sit at the negotiating table with Turkey while Turkish citizens who have been tortured in Turkish prisons are applying for asylum in EU countries. The justice system and the treatment of minorities are key areas that must be dealt with before negotiations can start in 2005."


TURKEY:  "A New Alliance Between U.S. And AKP"


Washington correspondent of mass-appeal Milliyet Yasemin Congar wrote (12/16):  "The way the AKP government tried to sell the Copenhagen decision to the Turkish public and the fact that it did not hesitate to continue the reforms brought optimism to the U.S. administration.  Washington is pleased to see that the AKP prefers determination on the EU goal as opposed to cheap populism and nationalism....  The Bush administration, on the other hand, believes that with the Copenhagen decision of December 12, not only the EU but also Turkey and the Turkish Cypriots have missed a chance.  The U.S. was expecting a breakthrough on Cyprus as a result of the Annan plan, and had hoped to see an agreement reached by December 12....  Now Washington’s deadline for Cyprus is February 28, and it very much believes that a settlement of the Cyprus issue will pave the way for important opportunities before the AKP government....  Washington wants to trust Turkey in its efforts to resolve the Cyprus issue, and to enlist Turkey’s cooperation in the fight against Saddam Hussein....  February 28 stands as an important date for a Cyprus settlement.  But in fact the strike against Iraq might take place before that.”


"Turkey Entered Into A Critical Era"


Taha Akyol wrote in mass-appeal, centrist Istanbul Milliyet (12/14):  "Turkey was hoping to start talks with the 'Europe of the 15,' but... will in the future start its EU accession talks with the 'Europe of the 25.'...  There are reasons that stem from Europe and from us for this unfavorable development.  The years 2003 and 2004 are extremely busy and burdensome for the EU....  Moreover, there are also elections in Europe in these two years....  Moreover, there are Christian and chauvinistic circles [in Europe].   These circles used the public opinion and the elections factor against Turkey....The decision also displayed the power of the 'German-French axis'...and bruised the American prestige to a great extent!


"As for the reasons emanating from Turkey...   The main difficulty that lies before us is the extent to which the 'institutions' would implement the reforms in accordance with the requirements of the EU criteria even if Turkey succeeds in passing these reforms from the parliament....  Naturally, the Cyprus issue is another difficulty."


"The EU And Impoliteness"


Metin Munir commented in center-right mass appeal Sabah (12/14):  "One of the lessons that should be drawn from the recent EU adventure is that it is time for [AKP leader] Tayyip Erdogan to stop using the language and to abandon the style that he learned when he was playing football in Kasimpasa....  The threats issued by Erdogan and Prime Minister Gul to the effect that 'they will hurt those who hurt us' were not very European in nature....  Even Italian Prime Minister Sylvio Berlusconi, who led the efforts to ensure that Turkey is given a negotiation date, said:  'A great number of people viewed (the pressure that Turkey has recently imposed) as unfortunate and unacceptable.'...  There is no doubt that even if Erdogan were an ocean of grace and politeness, the result would not have changed....  The EU is not ready to digest Turkey.  Turkey is a Muslim country.  It is a crowded country.  It is underdeveloped.  Finally, it has borders with Iran, Iraq, and Syria.  All this constitutes minuses in terms of Turkey.  We should also add to all this, the ignorance, the fears, and the prejudices regarding Turkey....  Turkey is not ready for the West, either.  Both our democracy and our economy are below the standards.  We should not confuse between wanting something very much and being ready for something.... 


"Turkey does not have a plan B with regard to becoming civilized and prosperous.  We have been standing at the same place since 1923.  We, and not the West, are responsible for failing to achieve these goals....  For decades Turkey has been run by rude administrative cadres whose pockets were deeper than their souls, whose horizons ended at their bank accounts, and who believed that wisdom and demagogy are the same things.  This is why Turkey has not been able to accomplish its goals and to realize its potential....  It is all up to us.  It is not necessary to become EU members for capturing the EU standards and for enriching these standards....  After all, does the strength that we require to this end not exist in the noble blood in our veins?"


"We Had Never Gotten So Close"


Columnist Yalcin Dogan wrote in mass-appeal, independent Istanbul Hurriyet (12/13):  "There are three strands to the Cyprus knot.   The first concerns the whole of the EU, except for Germany.   Even if advances were to be made on Cyprus, Germany is the one country that most resists giving Turkey an accession talks date....   Schroeder thinks of Turkey not within an EU context but within Germany's borders.  The second strand to this knot lies with ourselves.  The AKP government and the Foreign Ministry do not see eye to eye over Cyprus.  This difference of opinion goes beyond political courtesy.  The AKP administration is accusing the bureaucracy, which has been running the Cyprus policy for years, of 'sabotaging Turkey's interests.'...  The third strand to the knot is Rauf Denktas' attitude."   UN General Secretary Kofi Annan rang EU Term President Anders Fogh Rasmussen the other day and signals that a solution on Cyprus might


"Denktas's Flirt"


Mass-appeal, independent Hurriyet opined (12/13):  "The Greek Cypriots are out in force at Copenhagen.   As well as the Greek Cypriot administration there are representatives from each of the political parties here too.   All here to witness the Greek Cypriots take an historic step into the EU.   In other words, despite having certain objections to it, they are ready to sign the Annan plan....  Yes, our people are ready, with a few reservations, which all means that they are not in fact ready!...  Denktas has sent to Copenhagen one of the fiercest falcons and a person who is as far from a solution on Cyprus as is possible: Foreign Minister Tahsin Ertugruloglu.   His being sent to Copenhagen has had the effect of a cold shower on the EU....   Despite this Denktas is still leaving a door open.   A real heart rending point because he is saying, 'If Turkey is given a date it can accept we will not resist much more.'...  Here though lies a contradiction, and an historical one at that.  While the AKP government is saying, 'First a date then a solution on Cyprus' the EU is saying, 'First Cyprus then a date.'  Ours is stupid stubbornness....  Turkey has never been this close to Europe since laying siege to the gates of Vienna some 450 years ago!  Unfortunately, the administration in Turkey is not aware of this.  Negotiation, of course!  But this too has its limits.  Besides, the effect of American pressure on Europe is now becoming negative.  Turkey is still unaware that the problem cannot be solved through trust in the United States alone....  A solution on Cyprus might ultimately have a softening effect on German resistance."


"Is The U.S. Able To Convince The EU?"


Sedat Ergin commented in mass-appeal, independent Hurriyet (12/13):  “Although Washington is very enthusiastically working for Turkey’s membership, many EU officials were disturbed by the U.S. support for Turkey.  It would be unfair to say that the U.S. has no effect regarding Turkey-EU relations, yet it seems there is a certain degree of exaggeration among the Turkish public about the U.S.’s influence over EU decisions....  U.S. strategic interests call for a Turkey that is part of the EU, but that at the same time enjoys close ties with Washington.  However, the U.S. and the EU are rivals, and their interests are not parallel....  EU countries are generally willing to act independently from the U.S., and some EU members might have been annoyed by U.S. pressure in support of Turkey.  In addition, there is a fear within the EU about Turkey’s becoming a ‘Trojan Horse’ manipulated by the United States.  All these factors show that Turkey should not rely too much on U.S. support in pursuing EU membership."


"That's All"


Abdurrahman Dilipak opined in Anadolu'da Vakit (12/13):  "Western leaders' fears are greater than their hopes.  They do not know what they are rejecting.  They have no capacity for dreaming dreams.  The country they are rejecting is humanity's common homeland.  It is the cradle of ethnic communities.  It is Adam's, Noah's, Abraham's country.  It is the 'Promised Land.'  Everybody is from Anatolia to a certain extent.  Anatolian soil is sacred.  Turning your back on Turkey amounts to ignoring something sacred....  This is the country of Medes.  It is Eastern Rome.  It is Byzantium.  It is the Land of Greeks....  We have debts to the tune of $200 billion and a major unemployment problem.  Our women bear too many children.  All the same, our hopes are greater than our debts.  So are our resources....  As regards the Cyprus issue, the West cannot see the wood for the trees.  We are actually committing suicide possibly in taking refuge in the West.  Or maybe we hope to make a new start.  It could be a case of out of the frying pan into the fire....  But there is something I do not understand.  Why do you still fear us?  Your fears only keep alive my dying hopes....  My heart is full of bitter and strange feelings.  It is with a lot of pain that I am observing the efforts certain circles are making to get the EU to admit Turkey to membership and the threats and blackmails to which they are resorting to this end....  What difference would it make if you closed your doors on us in Copenhagen or allowed us to join?...  But stop laying claims to being a multi-religious and multi-cultural global civilization.....  Europe is not a global civilization rising on humanity's common heritage.  It is a Christian civilization.  You are Great Germany or at best a German-Franco-British coalition.  That is all....  With greetings and prayers."  


"Two Reasons For Disappointment"


Ismet Berkan of liberal-intellectual Radikal wrote from Copenhagen (12/13):  “[T]he EU is giving a signal to Ankara: ‘I have seen all of your bluffs.’  Turkey was not willing to settle the Cyprus issue, and failed to convince the EU that it meets Copenhagen criteria....  It is now up to Turkey whether or not to take steps toward the EU or continue bluffing.  The EU Summit was indeed a turning point for the EU, but now it also may be a turning point for Turkey.”




INDIA:  "More Stars In The EU Flag"


Pro-economic reform The Economic Times editorialized (12/17):  "The high point of the European Union's Copenhagen the formal acceptance of ten applicant countries....  The move...marks a defining moment in Europe's history.  The next such moment is likely to come only when a definite date is fixed for Turkey's accession into the EU....  The road ahead is bound to be pretty bumpy.  Wide economic disparities between the existing and new members make integration a ticklish issue. The present 15 members all have living standards within 25% of the EU average.  The new members, in contrast, have living standards that are far below, making for an uneasy union."


"United Colours"


The centrist Times of India editorialized (12/16):  "In an historic move symbolizing the end of centuries of conflict, an enlarged Europe has emerged with the EU expanding to include 10 new member states....  If and when Turkey gains entry, the EU's diversity will become even more spectacular....  Turkey...has awesome criteria to fulfil....  The EU evidently hopes Turkey will use the time it has been given to renounce religious and ethnic chauvinism, and gradually come on board in terms of accepting genuine secularism and autonomy for the ethnic minorities.  Notwithstanding his past affiliation to a religious party, the new Turkish leader, Erologan, has promised to fulfil the Copenhagen criteria.  This compromise deserves to be hailed as a progressive step both by the European Union and the new Turkish leadership."


PAKISTAN:  "No To Turkey, Again"


Karachi-based independent national daily Dawn editorialized (12/16):  "As expected, the European Union has once again let Turkey down....  The EU dithering on the issue is giving rise to serious doubts in Turkey about Europe's future orientation.  Most Turks now suspect that the EU wants to keep Turkey out because it is a Muslim country....   Washington favors Turkey's membership, but the EU has made it clear to the U.S. that this is a European issue and does not concern America....  A final rejection of Turkish membership will send the wrong signals to the entire Islamic world and perhaps serve to strengthen the forces of extremism and intolerance."


"Turkey And EU"


An editorial in the centrist national daily The News held (12/15):  "It was not unexpected that some of the increasing bias in Europe against terrorism, which is largely seen as having Islamic roots, would get rubbed onto Turkey, although it strongly stresses its secularist polity.  But this was not enough to strengthen its credentials in an atmosphere dripping with religious animosity and prejudice.  It is difficult to see how Turkey's case in 2004 will fare any better if the thinking in the minds of leaders of the community it seeks to join does not change.  The ease with which the Copenhagen summit accepted ten new states in one go without any quibbling, in spite of some of the states barely fitting the criteria, has only one explanation: all were Christians."




"New European Borders"


Center-right O Estado de S. Paulo editorialized (12/13):  "Despite the many economic conflicts and national interests involved, the EU's expansion eastward is a movement of historic proportions....  The new 'Europe of the 25' will be a heterogeneous colossus, but also poorer and more unequal....  The price is higher than Western Europeans feared and lower than Eastern Europeans expected....  Turkey is far from satisfying the requirements of full democracy, human rights and civilian liberties.  Those who support admitting Turkey into the EU maintain that the 'Europeanization' of this profoundly authoritarian country will transform it into the first truly democratic Muslim nation and, therefore, into an example for the Islamic world."


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