20 Eylül 2005 – TURKEY’S ACCESSION NEGOTIATIONS TO THE EU

“TRUE” dergisinin 20 Eylül 2005 tarihli ve 8-9 sayılı nüshasında Türkçe tercümesi ile birlikte yayınlanmıştır.

TURKEY’S ACCESSION NEGOTIATIONS TO THE EU

Yaşar Yakış

Chairman of the EU Commission in the Turkish Parliament
Former Minister of Foreign Affairs

As the date of 3rd of October closes in, speculations are also pouring in both on the Turkish and EU sides. However two different positions emerged on the EU side: The spokesmen of the relevant EU institutions point out, in a steady manner and with due consistency, that the accession negations will have to start on the 3rd of October as decided unanimously on the 17 December 2004 while in certain member countries, in Germany and in France more precisely, a different position is voiced.

The French authorities announced that they would question on the 3rd of October the appropriateness of starting the accession negotiations with a candidate country that does not recognize one of the full members of the Union. We will see on the 3rd of October what will be the attitude of the other member countries on this position of France. It is common knowledge that France is adopting such a position for the purpose of domestic politics. Monsieur Villepenne, whose becoming Prime Minister was celebrated in the Turkish media as the beginning of a new pro-Turkish era, must have been pushed to this position for the sake of demonstrating to the French public opinion that to be anti-Turk in France is not under the monopoly of Mr. Sarkozy.

In Germany the situation is slightly different. If Mrs. Angela Merkel emerges successful from the election to be held on 18 September, she says that she will try to promote the idea of extending to Turkey the status of privileged partnership instead of full membership. Mrs. Merkel is on the record for having said in the past that she will not impede the accession negotiations with Turkey if such a decision is taken before she comes to power. Now that this decision is already taken on 17 December 2004, Mrs Merkel is expected not to object the start of negotiations. So far she did not give the impression that she will divert from her initial position.

Greek Cypriots are put in an awkward position when France turned out to be more Catholic than the Pope. This must be natural in a country where one King in the past identified himself as the most Catholic King, but not in Cyprus because the Greek Cypriots are aware of the advantages of keeping Turkey on board. They contemplate to utilize the accession negotiations as a forum to push Turkey to make concessions on the Cyprus question.

Mainland Greece did not go as far as supporting the French position. The Greek leaders may have thought that the French position would not carry the Cypriot cause anywhere and that it would be wiser to dissociate themselves from the shaky and uncertain position that France has taken.

The reflection period that the EU allowed itself after the constitutional crises is not yet over. The crisis will not be made easier by exacerbating it with the question of Turkey’s membership. Both the constitutional crisis and the question of Turkey’s accession will be brought to a sound conclusion in case these two questions are not unnecessarily mixed up.

In Turkey, there is a growing weariness of the attitude adopted by one member country of the EU after the other. If Turkey is pushed to choose between joining the EU and fulfilling the irrelevant demands of each of the EU member countries, the choice that Turkey will make may not please those who pushed Turkey to make such a choice.

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