EU’S FOREIGN POLICY AND TURKEY
Post World War II
European Coal and Steel Community-Treaty of Paris, 1951
European Economic Community, European Atomic Energy Commission (EURATOM)-Treaties of Rome, amended by Single European Act,1986;Maastricht Treaty on European Union,1992;Amsterdam Treaty,1997.
Founded by six members (Benelux, France, Germany, Italy)
1972-Denmark, Ireland, UK
1995-Austria, Finland, Sweden
2004-Cyprus, Malta, Slovakia, Slovenia, Poland, Letonia, Lithuania, Estonia, Hungary, Czech
2007 -Bulgaria, Romania
Highlights in the Process:
-The first enlargement brought a deepening, with responsibility on social, regional and environmental matters being added to the portfolio.
-Economic Monetary System (1979) aimed at stabilizing exchange rates and encouraging members toward stricter economic policies.
-Negotiating as a bloc and world’s major trading power brought about the need for a common foreign and security policy.
-The world recession caused the Euro-pessimism of 1980’s; however the mood improved in 1985’s and the Single Act signed in 1986 was aimed at the creation of a single market up till 1993.
-The collapse of the Berlin Wall and the consequent German unification in 1990 and the disintegration of the Soviet Union transformed the European landscape.
-Treaty of EU entered into force in Nov.1993.
FROM TWENTİETH CENTURY TO THE TWENTFIRST:
-The end of the Cold War did not result in the creation of a new order that could respond to the novelties of the new global environment.
-Pressing issues such as terrorism, violent extremism, energy security, natural disasters, epidemics, scarcity of resources, frozen or active conflicts and re-construction of distressed countries are to be addressed and coped with.
-There are, furthermore, less tangible issues such as global warming, poverty, reformation of global financial order and prevention of cultural polarization.
-These all combine to contribute to the emergence of new and hitherto unforeseen challenges, which in its turn, call for the establishment of a new and viable international system.
• The EU is today a major player on the world stage with regional and global responsibilities. Yet, the EU’s common foreign and security policy (CFSP) could only be established in early 1990s. This policy has still weaknesses due to the different national goals and priorities of the EU members. The operational arm of this policy, which is the Common Security and Defense Policy (CSDP), could only become operational in 2000s.
• In order to emerge stronger on the world stage, the EU needs to be more strategic in its thinking and more effective in responding to the global challenges. Otherwise, it carries the risk of marginalization and becoming an “irrelevant peninsula of Asia”, as underlined by the Reflection Group in its report of May 2010. The report indeed contains important analysis and recommendations to ensure that Europe emerges stronger in the future on the international arena. The report also encloses important proposals on enlargement and underlines that the EU must honor its commitments with regard to the candidate countries, including Turkey.
• In view of the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty, the EU should be able to shape events and become more effective and visible around the world. The European External Action Service indeed aims at making the Union’s external action more efficient and coherent.
Now, I should like to elaborate on the contemporary scene, some features of which are briefly spelled above. Before focusing on the political aspect, let me touch upon the economic aspect. Frequent global economic downturns dictate that the new order must lead us to a system based on collaboration, cooperation and interdependence, rather than isolationism, protectionism, destructive competition and uncontrolled exhaustion of natural resources. The new order should begin to slowly dispel the existing economic disparities in the world, rather than accentuating them further; we must be extremely careful in the choices we make today.
In any case, there is no question that a number of developing countries around the world are destined to play a much greater role in the global economy. Let us remember that in the 1700s, Asia’s share of the world economic output was 62 percent, while Europe’s was only 22 percent. After dipping to an all time low of 18 percent in 1913, Asia is now making a comeback, with a share of nearly 40 percent in 2000, which is constantly growing. This is a reality that will increasingly force the developed countries to share the playing field and rewrite the rules of the game.
In the cultural field too, it is possible to trace the beginnings of a new order in the making. Various parts of the world are experiencing a revival of culture and civilization. Ancient civilizations are beginning to reassert themselves and taking their rightful place alongside the Western cultural paradigms, thus democratizing the cultural field. There is talk about “Asian values,” for instance. “Eastern “and “Southern” artists, scientists and political leaders are increasingly picking up Nobels and other prestigious prizes. Concepts like “micro credit” and “sustainable development” are utilized to produce tangible results. Statistics compiled by the World Intellectual Property Organization show a steady growth in the number and ratio of patent applications filed in emerging market countries. Unsurprisingly, the fastest growth rate in the publication of scientific papers over the recent decades was recorded in the Middle East and Asia.
And of course, all these are influencing what we understood from ‘international relations’ so far, altering the main definitions and understandings. The very architecture of global policy is changing.
The old balances, alliances and philosophies are giving way to new ones. Old memberships and clubs are losing meaning. The former dichotomies of ‘East vs. West’, as well as ‘South vs. North’ have long lost their applicability. So have the categories of First, Second and Third World.
The revolution of Internet and globally available information has radically altered the capacities of former power brokers. The power of media is more heterogeneous than ever. The most recent example is that of Wikileaks.
Now, allow me to come back to the fundamental topic, that of EU and try to place the Union in this setting. In the first place, the EU is the successful outcome of a dynamic integration process. It was by means of the EU that Europe has been able to leave behind past conflicts. Thanks to the culture of dialogue and compromise it has become an inspiration of liberty, stability and peace.
TURKEY’S PRESENT AND PROSPECTİVE CONTRIBUTIONS
The Lisbon Treaty will further solidify the political unity of the European Union and an internally stronger EU would obviously be a more effective and visible EU on the global stage. The smooth implementation of the Lisbon Treaty and mobilizing popular support for enlargement in general, and Turkey’s membership in particular appear to be two strategic tasks that lie ahead in this respect. We hope that with the entry into force of the Treaty, the argument that was put forward by some countries that enlargement could not proceed without institutional reform will finally be buried.
If we are to eradicate all forms of intolerance and discrimination based on religion or creed, to promote a democratic and equitable international order, to obtain robust economic growth and to achieve sustainable development, then Turkey’s membership in the EU will only help render the latter a leading global player in the 21st century.
• As a negotiating country and a future member state, Turkey desires the stronger presence and leadership of the EU in global affairs and is ready to enhance its contribution to that end. At a time when the EU is expected to be more visionary than ever, Turkey’s membership will be an asset for the EU to become more assertive in its neighborhood and beyond.
• The imaginative, proactive and multi-dimensional foreign policy of Turkey would support and strengthen the EU’s international impact. It will reinforce the strategic depth and global role of the EU.
Its geographical position is definitely an asset for Turkey. The country has been playing a crucial role in its multi-dimensional region that extends to The Balkans, East Mediterranean, the Caucuses and the Middle East and beyond.
Turkey has already become a factor of stability in its region and beyond, with its dynamic economy, young population, large market and cultural diversity. A strong commitment to upholding human rights is also central to our quest for peace, stability and development.
• Turkey prizes its membership of diverse political and economic organizations such as NATO, G-20, Council of Europe and OIC, and plays an active role. For instance, it currently holds the Chairmanship of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe. The variety of these organizations testifies to the multi-dimensional nature of Turkish foreign policy. It also enables Turkey to be a net contributor to different aspects of global governance. In fact, being a current non-permanent member of the UN Security Council as well as a G-20 member has further widened Turkey’s prospects in that respect.
• Turkey and the EU share the same geography, history, vision, values and goals. For instance, Turkey seeks to establish peace, stability and security in the Middle East; to further integrate the Balkans with the Euro-Atlantic community; to bolster democracy and peaceful resolution of conflicts; to contribute to enhanced energy supply and security of Europe. So does the EU. Therefore, the proactive diplomacy pursued by Turkey in fact complements the EU’s policies.
• Turkey stands at the crossroads of strategically important regions. The rich historical and cultural inheritance of Turkey adds a further strategic depth. Therefore, Turkey owes its importance not only to its geostrategic location, but also its historical, cultural and social ties to the neighboring regions.
• In this connection, Turkey plays a key role indeed in the promotion of dialogue between civilizations. The Alliance of Civilizations was established at the initiative of Turkey and Spain under the auspices of the UN. This initiative makes significant contributions to promote respect, understanding and peaceful coexistence among cultures.In view of all these facts, when Turkey becomes a member of the EU, Europe will become stronger in many aspects. With Turkey as a member, the soft power of the EU will be amplified.
• As a matter of fact, Turkey has already been a significant contributor to the EU’s common foreign, security and defense policies. In the context of the CSDP operations and missions, Turkey is among the largest contributors, such as Operation Althea in Bosnia-Herzegovina and EULEX Kosovo Mission. Furthermore, Turkey demonstrates a high degree of alignment with the EU statements in the framework of the CFSP. Yet, the full potential of the mutual benefits will be realized only with accession.
The constructive steps taken by Turkey in the foreign policy area are widely reflected in the 2010 Progress Report and the Enlargement Strategy Document. In this context, active Turkish foreign policy is considered as an asset for the EU.
• The Conclusions of the EU General Affairs Council on 14 December 2010 also refer to Turkey’s active foreign policy and emphasize the role which Turkey and the EU can play together in this field.
• Turkey attaches importance to carry out comprehensive and regular dialogue and consultations with the EU at all levels in the field of foreign policy. Indeed, Turkey aims at enhancing this strategic dialogue for more effective cooperation and coordination.
• Turkey is and will be in a position to contribute to the formulation and implementation of the EU’s foreign policy, as well as to its credibility and effectiveness.
Now, before concluding my presentation, allow me to indulge in some “philosophical” thoughts. It was political scientist Maurice Duverger who reminded us of mythological god Janus with two faces. The good professor maintained that the positive one signifies cooperation, while the other denotes conflict; that this “dual identity” and the interplay between the two qualify the fundamental characteristic of politics.
I should, if I may, like to build upon this to contend that in the twenty-first century we are to focus more and more on the “good” face and to steer away from the “bad” in all circumstances, to the extent possible. All the ills of our age we enumerated and talked above so obviously call for cooperation and collaboration and partnership, group effort, whatever the term is of your choice. In our globalized world which keeps getting smaller and more interdependent, two tendencies are increasingly evident: Conflict is becoming ever more risky, more wide-ranging and “all-embracing” for no one is safe and secure today in the way they used to be. Cooperation, in its turn, is becoming a must, a “sine qua non” for the settlement of disputes, solution of international problems and coping with contemporary issues ranging from failed states to climate change.
If we now come to the role and the position of the EU in this setting, in the first place, it is to be admitted that to figure out and deliver a common foreign policy reconciling the interests and addressing the needs of twenty seven member states is no mean feat! Yet, the good news is that, once such an all-accommodating policy on a certain specific issue is adopted, the chances for its being acceptable to others will be much higher than say, an individual American or Chinese policy. Obviously any such policy would have to be more “rounded over the edges”, more sophisticated, hopefully more open to compromise. Therefore, and this is my sincere belief and expectation, once the EU is able to come up with a common foreign policy, it will be in a position to substantially contribute to the resolution of a number of problems. I am also of the opinion that, particularly with regard to certain issues and disputes, the EU as a bloc could become even more effective than states however mighty they are.
However, there is a catch! The EU, in order to be able to deliver in the manner described above, has to take a closer look and displayed renewed interest in what we briefly mentioned above, i.e. soft power or in American parlance smart power. In old times it was the armies which fought valiantly, conquering territories along with people, navies ruling the waves. Today there are soldiers engaged in nation-building, constructing schools, hospitals and places of worship. (The troops of the Turkish contingent within the UN Peacekeeping Force in Zenitsa in former-Yugoslavia are on record for repairing a church as one of their first initiatives.) The diplomatic staffs who improvise ingenious formulations to help pave the way toward more concrete solutions, the armies of idealist volunteers to help alleviate the suffering of unfortunate masses. An altogether different mindset both individually and collectively, and, yes the good old armies as we have known them throughout history. But only as a last resort, in case everything else fails ( Was it Sun Tsu or Clausewitz who said that the best army is the one which does not have to fight?).
Turkey has a very special role to play in this context. With due respect to all the other countries with an eye on the EU, one has to admit that there is none better suited to project and exert soft power than Turkey. I summed up all the relevant factors above from the affinity and accumulated knowledge of the vitally important region to the advantages of economic and social dynamism. All we need is the vision to grasp these and of course the wise leadership to overcome petty-selfish-self important considerations. The EU has a right to expect that much from its leaders.
Thank you very much for your attention.