Did Sarkozy write the progress report?
I am not sure whether the United States is preparing to declare war on Israel, Greece, Cyprus and Iraq at the same time, after U.S. Ambassador to Ankara, Francis Ricciardone, underlined a few days ago that “our ally’s [Turkey’s] enemies are our enemies.” Or perhaps Washington is preparing to put Germany and France on its list of rogue states that sponsor terrorism, since Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan publicly condemned Berlin and Paris for harboring the outlawed Kurdistan People’s Party (PKK).
In Ankara, the EU is increasingly “passé” as evinced by a quiet competition among Mr. Erdoğan’s men on how best to humiliate the Europeans. EU Minister Egemen Bağış was a frontrunner in two categories: disgracing disgraceful Europeans and local humor.
Mr. Bağış was given a prestigious award for his brave remarks to Barry Madlener, a far-right Dutch deputy and a member of the European Parliament. When Madlener tried to present Mr. Bağış with a framed copy of a caricature drawn by a Turkish cartoonist - found to be offensive by Turkish prosecutors on the grounds that it insulted Islam – Mr. Bağış remarked: “You can put it in your appropriate place.”
An international humor prize for Mr. Bağış must also be on its way for his most recent remarks that “Turkey is enjoying the most transparent and pro-freedom times in its history.”
But the competition raced ahead with an unexpected move. During a televised debate a ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) heavyweight, Burhanettin Kuzu, threw the EU’s Progress Report 2012 to the floor and said he was “in fact throwing the report into the waste.” Earlier, Mr. Bağış had scored fresh points when he said that the EU was “psychologically sick.” Like many people, I am curious, though, why would Turkey devote a whole ministry and endless efforts to join a union that is psychologically sick, doomed to fail, and whose two heavyweights sponsor Kurdish terrorism.
Too bad, there is no longer a Nikolas Sarkozy around for the Turks to put all the blame on for failing to qualify for membership. Instead, the new scapegoat is “that so-called mini state which in a so-called way happens to be the so-called term president of the [so-called?] EU.”
But time is running out, and Turkish diplomats must use their creative skills to find a new culprit, as the Irish are soon taking over from the Cypriots. Ah, with the notorious drunkards how could we have made any progress? Alternative explanations could include global warming (because it slowed down EU diplomats’ comprehension of Turkish reforms), North Korean nuclear weapons (because they threatened EU’s expansion) and the Greek neo-Nazi Golden Dawn Party (just because they are anti-Turkish).
I hate to remind that I had prophesized disgrace when the prime minister’s usual chorus of cheerleaders love to philosophize disgrace, but this is how this column had (half) joked a year and a half ago, predicting the repercussions on EU accession of an easily-predictable election victory for the AKP in the June 2011 general elections:
“…the EU diplomats dealing with Turkey may have to find new jobs after elections in June. There is every reason to predict that the size of the European Commission representation in Ankara may gradually decline from its present 140 to half a dozen by the end of 2012. Parallel to that, the Secretariat-General for EU in Ankara may gradually metamorphose into the Secretariat-General for Middle Eastern Coal and Steel Affairs (‘Turkey’s EU-phemism is Middle East Coal and Steel Community,’ this column, March 2, 2011).”
I am sure the Commission’s office is still full of talented diplomats working hard for eventual Turkish membership. But as one of them joked recently: “We are the best gentlemen’s club in town.”