A European Turkey
Following the Turkey-EU meeting in Varna on March 26, Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım said, “We have not seen signs that the EU will treat Turkey on fair ground.”
EU Council President Donald Tusk also said there had “not been any concrete compromise” on the issues that were discussed in Varna.
So did they just beat the air? Or could one honestly not expect European crusaders to be Turkey’s genuine friend?
Let’s elaborate more on the conspiracy theory. Is it possible for the “Crusader-Zionist alliance” dedicated to remove Turkey from the world map to have good intentions?
First of all, let us underline one factor: The language President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan used, which was genuine diplomatic language, was very different from his usual rethoric towards Europe at the rallies in Turkey.
“We hope we have left behind a difficult period in Turkey-EU relations. It would be a grave mistake for Europe, which claims to be a global force, to push Turkey out of its expansion policy. Let’s build a prosperous and strong Europe together,” he said.
I find this the right kind of approach and tone. However, it will take some time to remove the traces of the language he had used at rallies during tense periods.
More importantly, even though there are very important common interests between Turkey and the EU, there are serious disputes between them as well.
For instance, naturally, Turkey will not accept Europe’s approach about problems regarding the Aegean Sea, the eastern Mediterranean and relations with Greek Cyprus, while Europe is under Greek influence.
In addition, the legal definition of terror is also a matter of dispute between Turkey and Europe.
From Europe’s perspective
From Europe’s perspective, it is not possible to find the state of emergency practices, the Board of Judges and Prosecutors (HSK) system, jurisdiction problems or widespread arrests in Turkey in accordance with the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR).
It is unacceptable under EU law for politicians to oppose and then for local courts to not comply with a decision the Turkish Constitutional Court has ruled as a “violation.”
We shouldn’t forget that France amended the 65th article in its constitution, removing the president and justice minister from the High Council of the Judiciary in 2007 for their affiliation with a political party, in order to reinforce the trust of its citizens in the justice system and in order to comply with the ECHR’s definition of “separation of powers.”
It is important to understand that the problems viewed from Turkey’s perspective and from Europe’s perspective cannot be solved at a summit easily. However, it is also important to understand that there are many common interests between Turkey and Europe.
In the age of globalization
As expressed by daily Hürriyet’s correspondent Güven Özalp, “the language used internally differed from the language used externally” at the Varna summit. Disputes and problems were discussed internally, but the language used by the leaders externally was diplomatic due to shared vital interests.
Tusk explained that “the positive progress, including the accession period, could improve relations between Turkey and the EU.”
Juncker emphasized the importance of relations with Turkey. The key is to limit disputes between the two parties without damaging their important interests and to solve them on time.
Globalization is currently in a phase where identities have become militarized, migration movements have created mass societies, economies have turned into protectionist economies and terrorism and security have entered a phase of internationalization. Isolation has become more dangerous than ever.
Since Turkey has integrated with European institutions, it should be able to integrate with European law on one hand and globally on the other hand.