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    Sukru Kucuksahin: Turkey, the EU, and the dangers of a "flexible delegation" to the talks

    Hürriyet Haber
    29.09.2005 - 00:00 | Son Güncelleme:

    It was predictable that when the date for EU accession talks drew closer, European efforts directed at Turkey to make it "give up" would grow more frequent. No one, however, expected pressures to built up to the point we are at now. Which is why the number of people saying "let us not be present at the table for the talks" has now seriously increased. The main reason for not being "present at the table" is the EU's Cyprus policy. Because the EU, which never even fulfilled its promises to end the economic isolation of Northern Cyprus, has this at the heart of its Cyprus policy: "Let Northern Cyprus be patched onto Southern Cyprus, the same way East Germany was appended to West Germany." European politicians are at the forefront for the list of reasons Turkey is experiencing disappointment with its EU quest. With the exception of Gerhard Schroeder, most European politicians have not shown the courage to face down the anti-Turkey feeling of public opinion in their countries. Here are some other reasons:  The French right, which will enter elections in 2007 with the call of "Stop Turkish membership," has started to follow a sly policy under the banner "Our economic interests should not be hurt." The French right has discovered Greek Cypriot authority leader Papadopoulos as their triggerman. With the French discovery of the Greek leader's power, and while Papadopoulos being allowed to play the cards in his hand to his heart's delight, a declaration with the aim of rubbing Turkey's nose in the dirt was published by the EU. Actually, it was known already in Turkey, which was not given a full memberhship perspective, that no government would ever approve of such tough requirements. While it's valid to point to Europe's incapability of saying "Please excuse us, we made you a promise which we will not be able to keep," it is also necessary to lay out some criticisms of the Turkish government during this process:  The AKP government, while showing great decisiveness in the period preceding December 17, showed an inexplicable slowing in picking a chief negotiator for the EU talks. Then when picked, Chief Negotiator Ali Babacan for months failed to explain adequately how he would work with his cadre. As October 3 drew closer, he started to give a message about a "flexible delegation to the talks." Said Babacan, "Whichever subject we are talking about, I will have the related governmental minister at my side." But almost everyone knows that previous candidate countries have always had a core delegation. Babacan also gave promises to organizations like TOBB, TUSAID, and DPT that when needed, he would draw from their expertise during the accession talks. In short, Babacan failed to give a decisive image as Chief Negotiator. What he really needed was a group of people who would be working day and night on the questions to be dealt with at the EU talks. This "flexible delegation," whether or not Turkey does decide to "stay at the table," spells dangerous results for Turkey.
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