Macron is doing wrong

Macron is doing wrong

While Ankara is having problems with U.S. President Donald Trump, European leaders are making statements of support for Turkey both in economic and political terms. 

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s phone calls with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May were followed by Treasury and Finance Minister Berat Albayrak’s meetings with his German and French counterparts. Albayrak will also meet his British counterpart.

Statements of support for Turkey are being made one after another while Trump’s policies are being criticized. But French President Emmanuel Macron’s remarks are unfortunate.

Will Turkey-Europe relations, which have started to improve, be limited to meeting Turkey’s financial needs and the needs of Europe in terms of migration and security issues? Or will these relations extend further?

On Aug. 27, Macron said, “Today’s Turkey is no longer Mustafa Kemal Atatürk’s Turkey… Turkey is confirming its pan-Islamic agenda every day, which seems against Europe,” which is why he said Turkey cannot be a member of the EU. He also labelled Russia and Turkey merely as Europe’s “strategic partners.”

Macron had also on Sept. 26, 2017, during a speech at Sorbonne University, said Europe needed Russia and Turkey as “strategic partners,” describing them as “authoritarian countries.”

These statements of Macron are such as to push Turkey from the West to the East. From this perspective, Macron is imitating Trump’s mistake.

Even when Turkey was being applauded by intellectuals and European media as “Turkey is European,” France was against Turkey’s membership to the EU.

Turkey’s full membership to the EU is anyway a far-fetched target. It depends on the unanimous consent of all countries. When France says “no,” Turkey cannot be a member.

But the accession talks and Turkey’s fulfilling the relevant criteria had made a significant contribution not only in financial terms to Turkey, but also in terms of the quality of democracy and the rule of law. Europe had also benefitted a lot from this.

Merkel is also against Turkey’s membership, but she does not speak in a repellent and chauvinistic way like Macron. She talks about a “privileged partnership” between the EU and Turkey. Macron, on the other hand, talks about a “strategic partnership with Russia and Turkey.”

If Europe, without respecting any historical and democratic values and common law, puts Turkey and Russia in the same pan, why should Turkey care about “Europe’s political values?” Why should Turkey, in this geography full of risks, talk about “Europe’s political values?”

Macron should think about this sincerely, of course if his outlook on Turkey is not like that of France’s far-right National Front party (FN) leader Marine Le Pen and if he is attached to democratic values dearly…

But of course Ankara, looking back at the 16 years of experience, should remember that Turkey’s most successful years were when the accessions talks with the EU took place.

It is a very positive step that the “Reform Action Group,” within the body of the Foreign Ministry, has now stepped into action to revive the accession process after three years.

In 2011, Erdoğan, who was prime minister at the time, had said, “We have carried out the process of Turkey’s accession to the EU, which is the biggest modernization step after the establishment of the Turkish Republic, with determination.”

Going back to the same determination would bring a lot to both Turkey and Europe, in terms of the economy, rule of law, security, and so on.