03 October 2006

1073) Some Criteria are Better than Others . . .

As we approach the anniversary of October 3rd, taking an account of “where Turkish-European Union relations have gone in one year” would be a more appropriate topic for today’s article.

When the crude language and provocations in the EU report are put together with the French president’s statements made in Yerevan a few days ago, a trend appears for making additions to the Brussels Copenhagen Criteria on the first anniversary of October 3rd. Rather than one year balance sheets, examining this trend in Europe, which is becoming more apparent every day, has finally become a necessity.

From 1999 until Turkey’s candidacy in 2004 when a date for opening negotiations was given, it was promised at all EU summit meetings that Turkey would be evaluated “equally” with other candidate countries. The EU violated this promise with its decision on December 17th, the most discriminating decision ever presented to a candidate country. Those saying, “You wanted a negotiations date; take it,” added a “catch” to this decision. The “light recognition” of Cyprus was imposed on Turkey with the Ankara Protocol. Hoping that the December 17th decision would soften as the process advanced, we have witnessed every critique passed becoming more serious in the process.

As if this were not enough, everyone with a voice is attempting to implement new criteria for Turkey. Everything under the sun can be found on the list. First, it says, “Turkey has to recognize the Greek Sector before the end of 2006,” and also that if institutional reforms are not made, it will be necessary to stop expansion. Of course, we can’t understand if Commission Chairman Barroso’s words were fully directed towards Turkey. But which country remains after he said in regard to the Croatian issue, “As soon as they comply to the criteria, I want them to become a member,”?

Two days ago French President Jacques Chirac added the most “damning” condition to the “hormone-fueled” Copenhagen Criteria. When Chirac said that Turkey should acknowledge the purported genocide for EU membership, of course it doesn’t immediately become a condition, but Chirac isn’t the president of Papua New Guinea. Isn’t “genocide,” which was taken out of the report as a condition at the last minute, going to come up stronger after Chirac’s speech? Isn’t Chirac, who has not used the word “genocide” until now and hasn’t made a connection between Turkey’s future membership and a “genocide” confession, being terribly two-faced?

Even Eurlings, who indirectly added the “genocide” of Syriac-speaking Christians and Pontus Greeks to the report, stated, “We didn’t want something like this from either Poland or the Czech Republic.” However, while we were glad that “genocide was removed as a pre-condition,” he put the words, “acknowledgment of genocide is indispensable for Turkey’s membership” into the report. This English word, “indispensable,” means “absolutely necessary or required.” In other words, the report says, “If Turkey doesn’t acknowledge the genocide, it can’t become a member,” but does so in a softer tone. Anyway, that’s why the Armenian lobby shared its satisfaction publicly.

Eurlings’ report is far removed from good intention. A report written for a country that has begun negotiations should not attempt to portray that country as Afghanistan. After Chirac’s statements it is probable that the Armenian issue, just like the Cyprus issue, will appear in EU documents on a broader basis.

Is this a plot to make Turkey slam the door and walk away?!

Brussels
10.03.2006
SELCUK GULTASLI
s.gultasli@zaman.com.tr

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