December 18, 2002
EUROPEAN UNION EXPANDS, BUT WITHOUT TURKEY
** 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
** 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 "must...deal 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
"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
"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."
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.”
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!"
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
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.”
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.”
"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
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.”
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."
"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
"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 yielding...to 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
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."
"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
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
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."
"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.”
"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.”
"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.”
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
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
"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
"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."
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."
"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
"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
"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
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."
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
"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.”
"More Stars In The EU Flag"
Pro-economic reform The Economic Times
editorialized (12/17): "The high
point of the European Union's Copenhagen summit...is 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."
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."
"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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