BARÇIN YİNANÇ > European Union’s deep state settling accounts with Turkish army

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Almost all of last week’s striking news pieces were reminiscent of the early 1990’s. Listening to the news about the suicide bomb attack in Kayseri, the sentencing of Kurdish deputy Leyla Zana to 10 years in prison, the controversial statements of Interior Minister İdris Naim Şahin, I had a clear sense of deja vu.

But the news item that struck me the most was about the Danish foreign minister’s statement. Turkey should take brave steps to resolve the problems of its Kurdish population as it strives to draw up a new constitution, said Villy Sovndal, who is also the current European Union president. “That’s the bravest statement to come from Europe for the last couple of years,” I said to myself.

Some may rush to point to other past statements or reports here and there. But this will not change the perception that the EU has been highly insensitive to democratic misgivings under the rule of the Justice and Development Party (AKP). In contrast to those die hard AKP opponents, who are unfortunately categorized under the banner “staunch Kemalist or secularist,” and who are completely blinded by their hatred of the ruling party, I will not argue that Turkish democracy progressed backward. Turkey has made considerable progress on certain aspects of democratization and improvement of human rights. But this partial success should not overshadow the bigger picture which is still worrisome.

The EU’s stance on the not so rosy part of the picture has been rather intriguing. I spent the first decade of my career in the 1990’s as a diplomatic reporter in Ankara covering the EU’s reactions to anti–democratic implementations and human rights violations. I do not recall the number of stories I have done regarding a European dignitary’s critical statement on Turkey’s policies on Kurdish issue or a European delegation visit to attend a hearing about a writer in jail. I am (ironically) grateful to EU troika ministers, or European heads of states, for secretly sending letters of protests or issuing diplomatic warnings, which were made public by my reports, gaining me the appreciation of my superiors. Gone are the days when Kurds were denied their rights and were victims of extra judicial killings of course. Now that the darkest period is behind us, the EU is not concerned that Turkish democracy still falls short of universal standards.

There could be several explanations for this phenomenon. According to “bon pour l’Orient” theory, the EU might think that the current democratic jacket suits Turkey just fine and there is no need to have a democracy based on universal standards. Besides, a fully democratic Turkey will mean full pressure from Turkey for full membership. According to another theory, pro-AKP NGO’s are extremely well organized in Brussels and other European capitals where they head an extraordinary PR campaign for Turkey’s ruling party. There is also the theory that the EU’s deep state is settling accounts with the old military and judicial order, which was a major stumbling block in their relations with Turkey. Now it is happy to see the elites of the old order lose their weight and influence, seeing certain anti–democratic consequences as an inevitable side effect.

The truth seems to be the mixture of the three.


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Notice on comments

Philip Andrews

5/31/2012 12:06:15 PM

Firstly Russia runs Europe through Germany. He who supplies the oil/gas calls the tune. Russia supplies up to 50% EU gas. So its Russia taking over the EU's energy infrastructure. Secondly the Russians have POWER in E Europe whether hated or not. The KGB/FSB still rules. Since when did 'public opinion' have any say? Thirdly so long as Greeks/Cypriots are in EU they will block. Shiities can be manipulated by Iran as in Iraq and elsewhere. Iran supplies 1/3 Turkey's oil. Turkey is better off out.

Red Tail

5/29/2012 6:58:31 PM

john albay. You are right. EU needs Turkey. Turkey does not need anyone. Turkey is the center of the world and everybody needs us, but we are sooo strong and macho that we do not need anyone. The only reason why we are not let in to the EU is because they are Islamphobes (despite the fact that 16 million Mulsims are alerady living in Europe).

dogan kemal ileri

5/29/2012 6:29:17 PM

Oh I do hope so Philip Andrews,please never let us Turks into your precious EU and it will make my day.We have far more important business with the Islamic/Turkic world and ofcourse the broader world.The more Turkiye is opposed and rejected the greater will be its resolve to be in the top 10 technological rich nations before 2023,the centenary of our young republic.Do we want to end up as German/French chattels and slaves like the rest of the EU members,noooooooooooo thanx.Love independence.

john albay

5/29/2012 12:33:11 PM

@philip andrews what a strange way you have at looking at things! First the russians have zero say in western Europe and they are hated in eastern europe so that will never happen that russia has Europe.As for the greeks and their puppets in south cyprus the EU does not want them! as for the shites they are a religous group and have no blocking power.The Eu will be indipendant of russia for gas in a few years time and Turkey does not need the EU but soome the EU will need Turkey.

Philip Andrews

5/29/2012 11:54:05 AM

Whatever the Turks do they won't get into Europe. The Germans don't want them. The Russians want Europe to themselves. And the Greeks and Greek Cypriots don't want them. The last two may become irrelevant, but with 20 million Shiites in Turkey Gertmany and Russia will block Turkey's accession. Russian is not in the EU but wields a lot of influence as energy supplier. When Germany and Russia join together, Turkey will be frozen out. That's how I understand it.
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