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Cengiz Aktar

Is the atmosphere in France changing?

16 Mayıs 2009
According to the poll, 49 percent of left lean support Turkey’s EU bid where 41 percent opposes it. Among right-wingers, 67 percent stand against Turkish accession to the EU as 19 percent give support to Turkey. The same research company, CSA, in a previous survey held in 2005 revealed that 66 percent of French people were against Turkey’s EU membership. So, the anti-Turkey camp has lost 16 points in four years!

In spite of the geographical distance between the two countries, France and Turkey have many similarities: the nation-building process, concept of minorities, weight of the agriculture, centrality of state in public administration, place of religion in the public domain, place of military in political life, education and curriculum. Starting from these similarities, one can understand the French reservation or opposition to Turkey to some extent. Most of the aforementioned notions are imported from France. Despite all the bickering, in Turkey discussions in particular on religion’s place in the public sphere are way beyond those in France. Ongoing discussions in Turkey are being perceived as a revision of the laicism principle, which in turn makes the fear deepen.

As for Islam per se, forget about integration of millions of Muslims whose size reaches around 10 percent of total French population; France has deep difficulties to co-habit with them. Thus Turkey’s Muslim population is a potential nightmare for many in France and elsewhere in Europe, in the case of membership to the EU.

The Sarkozy factor
Since 2004 the French right has simply added fuel to the flames regarding public opinions’ negative feelings toward Turkey and enlargement in general. As the European Parliament elections will be held on June 6-9, Turkey comes out of the French President Sarkozy’s wonder hat again. But this time, German Chancellor Merkel accompanies him. Over the last weekend, Sarkozy and Merkel openly, acting together, addressed young Christian Democrats in Germany. Instead of full membership for Turkey they renewed their "privileged partnership," which without exception no one knows what it is. Besides the EP elections, Merkel is preparing for the Bundestag elections scheduled for Sept. 27. However, conducting election campaigns by Turkey-bashing could backfire one day.

As for Sarkozy, let’s not forget that he is not the old upbeat Sarkozy anymore, his remarks are not agreed on easily, and even he tells the truth that his position is rejected outright by the majority of citizens. French people are sick and tired of his arrogance and his constant way of tearing down without being able to build instead. You should’ve seen the French press last week about Sarkozy’s second year as French president. The media was asking, "How will we stand this man for another three years?"

Indeed there is no guarantee for Sarkozy being re-elected in 2012. Of course, his rival’s ability will be vital, but it is possible to talk about "Sarkozy abhorrence" today. So his anti-Turkey stance may not infinitely go as planned.

Moreover as the opinion poll reveals, the French are not necessarily against Turkey. As everyone in sober mind, the French too have begun to see Turkey’s EU membership through different windows. There are many different news stories, books, movies, meetings, political and economic partnerships, and artistic and cultural activities available to the French beside the anti-Turkey mind-set. In addition to members of the French socialists, some right-wing politicians are increasing in number against Sarkozy’s Turkey policy. Today there is a multi-voiced Turkey debate in France.

The city of Lille has been talking about Turkey via the "Istanbul TraversŽe" exhibition since mid-March. The number of visitors in seven weeks reached a record 65,000! Activities related to the "Season of Turkey" will be start in July and last until March 2010. In the meantime, Istanbul will be the European Capital of Culture. Remember, just because of the EP elections of early June, Sarkozy didn’t want the start of "Season of Turkey" at an earlier time. I wonder how he would inaugurate the season with his Turkish counterpart Abdullah Gül after his constant undue remarks against Turkey. But it is not impossible that he might suddenly become a friend of Turkey!
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Davutoğlu officially becomes FM

9 Mayıs 2009
These are preparations to compete in political arena, not in economy, with the opposition, which will certainly come up with populist solutions for people who suffer from the economic crisis. Since the Prime Minister is off the world, he has difficulties to duly perceive the economic crisis originated outside.

The new Foreign Minister Davutoğlu is not publicly known but since Abdullah Gül has become the president, Davutoğlu is actually in charge of the foreign ministry. We have seen especially during this period that Turkish foreign policy has consciously turned face to other regions in addition to its historic western inclination and tried to have equally significant relations with these regions as with the West; that mediation efforts although obsessive have yielded absolutely no results; that Turkey has quickly lost impartiality while giving the impression more of an aggressive Muslim country in Europe. This period will be remembered through famous crises in which Turkey had its share: Cartoons of Prophet Mohammed in a Danish daily, visit of Hamas leader Khaled al Mashal, of Sudanese President Omar al Bashir, the Davos and Rasmussen episodes.

Davutoğlu has a big share in Turkey’s new foreign policy trends. About another important issue, Turkey’s main national objective, the EU membership, his views are as follows: "Turkey’s ever increasing influence in the Middle East brings Turkey closer to the European Union. Be it in the Middle East or in the Caucasus, our influence makes us more important in Brussels and Washington as well." Unfortunately, consequences of this approach have been exactly to the opposite. Turkey has alienated itself from Europe while at home the EU accession works have systematically been loosen up.

The EU bid is not equal to other relations
I am tired of repeating since 2000: Once Turkey becomes an EU member, it will, as the minister put, ’pay its debt’ to countries where we have brotherly ties in blood, religion and race. No matter how hard we sniff at, Turkey has a lot to learn from the EU’s techniques. On the other hand, we have not much to learn from other regions, but we have so many practices to carry from the EU to these regions.

Today, limping EU works are also slowing down Turkey’s normalization process both inside and outside because in order to manage and steer issues that we are discussing openly thanks to the EU dynamic and to come up with a new social consensus out of this, is embedded in the EU techniques. Solutions to our chronic problems such as asymmetrical state-society relation, place of religion in public sphere, women’s place in society, education and curriculum, the military’s practice to interfere in politics, the Armenian-Greek-Kurdish issues and so many others will be found through the synergy of local dynamics with that of the EU. Only this synergy can bring Turkey up to the strong position in the 21st century that Davutoğlu wishes for the country.

We should better understand this process and look for solutions not in outdated theoretical frames but in extremely practical and solid EU process. For this reason, Turkish foreign policy should focus on the EU as much as possible without spending unnecessary time with historic and geographic kinships now as we may create new dynamics with them one we become an EU member. In this sense, if Davutoğlu clears the ways for the solution of deep-rooted Armenian- Greek- Kurdish issues that all have local bonds; if he turns the new term of Turkish-American relations into an utmost partnership, if he provides full support for the State Minister for EU Affairs Egemen Bağış and if he informs public opinion about all these developments, it would be more than enough for Turkey. But if Davutoğlu adopts the policy of becoming more of a Middle Eastern Muslim country, which he managed to achieve in the last four years as the chief adviser, and having pipe dreams about "Grand Turkey" Turkey will continue to lose time. For Davutoğlu, the period of being an adviser with decision power without having any accountability has come to an end. Now it is the high time for not problematic but responsible operations.
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Social Policy chapter & May Day

2 Mayıs 2009
The International Labor Organization, or ILO, keeps asking Turkey to have working life legislation in accord with world standards. But since the demands are unbinding, Turkey ignores them. There are not many chapters left to be opened in Turkey-EU accession talks.

A bill to lift restrictions on CBAs, as part of the opening benchmarks for Chapter 19, has being pended in Parliament for a year. It is back on the agenda again.

The current Trade Unions Law and CBA, Strike and Lockout Law impose many restrictions and follow the mentality of the post-coup d’Žtat Constitutional Law of 1982. The Trade Union for Public Servants Law that was passed in 2001 is a document based on a patriarchal understanding of "No strike against our paternal state." Due to limited CBA authority given to trade unions in Turkey, the number of workers covered by CBAs in total employees is quite low compared with that of EU countries.

According to data and survey results of Bahçeşehir University’s Economic and Social Research Center, BETAM, the figure stands at a mere 13.3 percent. In order for a trade union to conclude a CBA, according to law, at least 10 percent of workers in a given sector should be members of that particular trade union or over 50 percent of workers at a given workplace should be members of the same labor union. As for civil servants, a "collective meeting" is foreseen instead of a CBA. Therefore, Turkey is at the bottom of the list among EU countries when comes to total number of workers covered by CBAs. Survey results also reveal that workers benefiting from CBAs earn more.

Difficult harmonization
The European Commission in its 2008 report repeats that Turkey is not ready in the area of labor legislation; and in social dialogue, that Turkey has made limited progress. In the period of reporting, more three-party social dialogue meetings were held but the Economic and Social Council fails to meet regularly as required by law. In certain sectors, there is progress in dual social dialogues, but establishment of dual and autonomous social dialogue structure is failed at any level. The number of workers covered by CBA is still quite low.

Union rights are not completely established. The draft legislation in order to harmonize Trade Union, CBA, Strike and Lockout legislation with ILO and EU standards is not approved yet. Turkey is not ready enough in the area of social dialogue.

We all know the poor track record of the government in labor legislation and labor relations. No one has forgotten yet the recent negligence at the Tuzla shipyards and brute force applied last year on May Day. Still, the changes that the government seeks are better than nothing.

The number of work branches is being reduced from 28 to 19; the 10 percent threshold is being abolished as well as requirement of notary presence during membership to trade union as well as resignation; being a Turkish citizen in order to set up a labor union is not required, either. Besides, strike bans are being reduced. However, the above-mentioned changes are fully in line with neither the EU nor the ILO standards nor entirely satisfactory for trade unions. No progress is achieved in the 50 percent threshold, which is one of the main opening benchmarks in the Social Policy chapter.

As for labor rights of civil servants, it seems that the government will make some commitment to the EU. During the Czech Republic term-presidency, the Social Policy chapter may be opened on June 26 at the latest. Hang in there!

Finally yesterday, last year’s shame was not repeated on May Day. We hope full normalization will happen next year, and the government will duly appreciate the importance of labor rights.
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Cyprus after the elections

25 Nisan 2009
On page 47, we read, "Our people are not destined to unite with Greeks." It is crystal clear: Either the TRNC will be recognized internationally, which is out of the question because even if we convince our Muslim brothers and other kin, the TRNC in the end is part of the European Union territory. The second option is being annexed by Turkey. Although there is "progress" in this direction, it doesn’t require an astrologer to predict the cost of annexation to Turkey. Therefore there is only one perspective left: Going back to the 30-year-long period that ended when Mehmet Ali Talat became president and the Republican Turks’ Party, or CTP, became the governing party. This is the bottom line, despite the rich verbosity in the UBP manifesto, a bottom line that testifies the words of Turkish Cypriot journalist and political scientist Sadi Egemen: "The biggest defaulted company of Turkey is the TRNC."

Almost all the steps taken so far by President Talat and the CTP to open the TRNC to the world, for its normalization, and being freed of financial, political and military tutelage of Turkey, seem ready to being overturned by the UBP. Three examples: property compensation committees, settlement talks and the tax system. The UBP says the compensation committees that have just barely gained international legitimacy will be abolished. While today, Greek Cypriots give up all their rights after being paid compensations, they will resort to the European Court of Human Rights when the compensation committees are repealed. Thus, as in the Loizidou case, Greek Cypriots will be entitled to receive compensation and to keep their property rights. The UBP thinks the mainland will pay the compensations anyway!

Three dossiers were discussed in settlement talks. There was not much progress in the ownership dossier, but parameters were defined. It was quite a progress in other two dossiers, the European Union and power sharing. Three more dossiers Ğ land, security and economy Ğ are left to be dealt with. None is easy, but apparently the first round of talks will be finished in June. Then the give-and-take process will begin in September. To find a solution by the end of the year remains possible. The UBP’s insistence to see the TRNC as a founding state of the future new state has the potential to ruin the entire structure because the UBP still asks for a confederation and disregards the federal state, single citizenship and unique international representation. They think the mainland will not "sell out" the TRNC anyway!

As for the tax system, the UBP has no intention on reducing financial dependence on Turkey because they yearn for huge tax cuts. The mainland will keep sending money anyway! We understand that President Abdullah Gül, as a result of his high sensitivity in the EU bid, refuses to consider allowing the 70 million Turkish people in the mainland to be left hostage to wrong steps of the TRNC. Let’s hope that similar sensitivity will be shown in the ruling Justice and Development Party, or AKP. A solution in Cyprus, in the most concise way of expression, is a political equation in which Turkish Cypriots will obtain political equity and EU membership in exchange for land. To have a better deal is impossible. Those who seek a better deal by sheer rhetoric would condemn both Turkish Cypriots and Turkey to nationalist dead-ends.

Turkey in between ’we are the greatest,’ ’no one likes us’
Let’s drop a foreign policy note here. Regardless of the political view, the overwhelming majority likes Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s feverish attitude and lashing out people abroad. They feel proud and feel like that he is the remedy for the almost genetic frustration felt since the collapse of the Ottomans. Let’s not look for excuses for our complexes: This is not foreign politics; this is a way of socio-psychological treatment that functions to keep society up. It runs just like football. But there is a side effect of this foreign policy: being wrong and ridiculous as a result of the wrong communication style, despite being essentially right in the Davos and Rasmussen incidents.
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Openings closed one after another?

18 Nisan 2009
On the Armenian position, expectations rose high after the visit President Abdullah Gül to the Armenian capital, Yerevan, and secret bilateral talks held in Geneva since August 2007. The expectation has peaked due to the visit of U.S. President Obama and the upcoming April 24 commemoration day. But, at least for now, Turkey’s border with Armenia remains closed. This time we heard from Prime Minister Erdoğan himself that he doesn’t lean on the package designed by diplomats of the two countries. His remarks Ğ "We cannot seal any deal that would hurt Azerbaijan" Ğ helped close this case. And now we even have a Web site on this approach: www.turkiye-ermenistan-kapilar-acilmasin.org (let’s not open the doors with Armenia).

Things way over our heads
It is extremely difficult for Turkey to resolve the Armenian issue through the resolution of the Karabakh conflict. Moreover, it is Turkey who, by closing unilaterally its border with Armenia in 1993 to show solidarity with Azerbaijan, has tied its hands for any bilateral deal with Armenia. This time, Azerbaijan, despite being constantly informed about the course of Turkish-Armenian talks, is enraged and this is probably nurtured by Russia. I didn’t say "Russia can remove Turkey from the Caucasus equation easily" for nothing. So can Iran. Iran having excellent relations with Armenia has no problem with Azerbaijan either.

Apparently, the Karabakh issue is more than Turkey can handle. Russia keeps Azerbaijan and Armenia in its hands and laps because of the Karabakh conflict and doesn’t want any durable solution. Armenia clearly depends on Russia: military and strategic relations, patrolling of the Turkish border, handsome Russian military bases, and a strong support in energy supply and in the Karabakh feud. Alright!

But in this case, where does this Russian love of Azerbaijan come from, as Azerbaijanis are supposed to seek alliances against the Armenian-Russia axis? What makes Azerbaijanis dependent on Russia? None of the reasons that are valid in the Armenia-Russia partnership can explain Azerbaijan’s dependency on Russia. The main factor leaving Azerbaijan in the Russian sphere of influence is the authoritarian and antidemocratic regime inherited from the Soviets.

Just like the case in Armenia, by the way. But in fact Azerbaijan’s democratic evolution could bring alone a solution to the Karabakh conflict. In a referendum to be held in Karabakh, democratic guarantees for Karabakh Armenians, provided by Azerbaijan, would bring a solution. But for now, it is impossible for the Azerbaijani authoritarian regime to go through such an evolution. Therefore, its Armenian policy is limited with a tactless approach of "Armenians are poor, but I have oil. I will wait until they are exhausted and take Karabakh back in the end." Turkey has made itself hostage of this policy closing the Turkish side of the Armenian border in 1993.

The Cyprus stalemate, as one of our antique foreign policy positions, will be on the agenda over the weekend. Parties defending "no solution is the solution" may win the April 19 elections in Turkish Cyprus. As a result, settlement talks with Greek Cypriots may once again go to the wall although they were going well despite all odds. With no solution at sight, Turkey may continue to lose time and money in Cyprus as a result of nationalist ambitions in a way to confirm the remarks of British Foreign Secretary James Callahan, who said in the aftermath of the 1974 military intervention that "your army captured the island but in time the island would capture your soldiers." And the fate of Kurdish overture and talks going on with the Kurdistan Regional Administration in northern Iraq may look like that of Turkey’s Armenian and Greek overtures.

It is not painless to clear the past mistakes. Adding clumsiness and nationalist rhetoric on top creates new deadlocks at all fronts. And Turkey continues to pay an arm and leg for its nationalist obsessions.
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Western front following NATO, Obama

11 Nisan 2009

Instead of lobbying with the assumption that Rasmussen’s track record would harm the fight against al-Qaeda, it emphasized the insult against Islam deriving from the cartoons crisis. By giving a religious character to its opposition it produced the impression that Turkey is the spokesperson of the Islamic world in the western organizations. And by challenging the principle of freedom of speech it gave the impression of exporting to Europe its concept of restricted freedoms. Moreover, the controversy was left to the last minute, contrary to NATO customs. These are severe mistakes.

Turkish posture in NATO satisfied nationalist circles. But the NATO crisis was interpreted as a victory only in Turkey. Foreign press reflected the issue as a back step on Turkey’s account. Although we feel proud, Turkey couldn’t get what it targeted: to prevent Rasmussen’s being NATO’s secretary-general. The so-called concessions made to convince Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to stop opposing Rasmussen are not relevant to what Turkey wanted. But if you raise the stakes so high this is an unavoidable outcome! 

Rasmussen’s sending a special message to the Islamic world (as soon as he arrived in Istanbul, he stressed "censorship is the enemy of dialogue" in order to emphasize the freedom of speech), having a Turkish deputy secretary among five in NATO and a Turkish official among NATO bureaucrats for disarmament (aren’t we specialists of armament rather!), and a NATO representative in Afghanistan being a Turkish official, do not change Rasmussen’s character, which was objected to by Turkey. (The promise to shut down pro-Kurdish Roj TV broadcasting in Copenhagen is not even worth a single remark.)

Diplomats may be satisfied by such formulas but not politicians nor radical Islamic militants. Will Muslim countries expressing sensitivity about Rasmussen (according to Erdoğan) now have to approve him just because Turkey, as their "representative" got guarantees for itself? Actually the opposition in Afghanistan and Pakistan is not about Rasmussen or anybody else but about NATO itself. Reminding the world of the unfortunate cartoons episode has already triggered the demand for those cartoons in Denmark. Certainly the radical Islamists would have reactions too. So, while sponsoring the Alliance of Civilizations Turkey has actually ended up by fueling the feud. Another question is if Turkey, which is eager to have a say in NATO, is fully aware of balances and enmities in the region. Let’s also not forget that someday NATO’s Turkish forces may stand against their Muslim brothers in the region. And finally, if Turkey needs so much argument to reach decision-making positions in an organization where it’s been a member since 1952 and which it served dutifully, then there must be deep problems elsewhere.

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Invitation to Earth

4 Nisan 2009
Let’s look at four opposition parties who won more votes. In fact, with the exception of the pro-Kurdish Democratic Society Party, or DTP, the other three parties lacked programs. And actually they didn’t really win, the AKP that forgot about all reforms lost! The message that Kurds voting for the DTP sent to the government is clear: "Don’t treat us like a bunch of pitiful but like Kurds."

As for the votes that the Republican People’s Party, or CHP, and the Nationalist Movement Party, or MHP, nationalist duo won, they received the votes of those who reject the AKP government. The Islamist Saadet (Felicity) Party on the other side, gained votes from electors who were tired of AKP’s arrogance vis-?-vis its roots and of the fondness of its newly-rich members for worldly consumption.

On the other hand, the AKP’s unrealistic approach to the disastrous effects of the economic crisis has also had its share in the bad result. The failure of the AKP, a party coming from a local administration tradition, claiming its spot in the center and winning 47 percent in the July 2007 general elections, is serious.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan bears the utmost responsibility in this failure. AKP leadership suffers from the disappearance of its founding members such as Abdullah Gül, Bülent Arınç and Abdüllatif Şener, as counterbalancing powers.

Yet there is no surprise in the deplorable election result with sycophants around the prime minister. But of course, we shouldn’t forget that he himself wanted to see this group of toadies around him. Erdoğan and his party, from now on, should come down to earth, scale down and be humble. Both inside and outside the country!

Right after the landslide of the July 22, 2007 general election, the ego-boost has caused the AKP to miss all targets. Moreover in its entire history the Republic of Turkey has never had so much money as it had in the period between 2004 and 2008. Such bounty played a role in why the AKP and most of us lost our senses.

Large highways, all sorts of ugly concrete apartment buildings with English names, desire to turn every city into soulless Kayseri, magnifying mirrors everywhere, dreams of grandness and obsession with consumption É The banquet has come to an end. Turkey has no luxury to make more mistakes in this critical economic downturn.

Let’s have a look at the outside now: Turkish opposition to Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen’s candidacy as NATO secretary general or harsh statements about France’s return to NATO’s military wing were nothing but baloney. No swaggering is needed anymore in similar subjects. Iran said "no thanks" to Turkey for its mediation efforts in eventual talks with the United States. Syrian President Bashar Assad referring to Israel wished, "U.S. should mediate between us." Turkey is not considered a major player in the new Afghanistan architecture of the United States. In other words, the AKP’s Turkey is coming down to earth from the clouds where it has been for the last four years. That is to say we will finally be dealing with our own issues domestically and in our neighborhood.

What is the to-do list?

w Push the transformation of the country forward.

w Democratize at full speed.

w Launch a new constitution debate.

w Pursue the Ergenekon crime gang case to the last resort.

w Revamp the EU accession bid.

w Take care of press freedom.

w Solve the Kurdish issue by applying new parameters, including the cross-border dimension.

w Strengthen Turkish-Armenian relations.

w Support reunification talks in Cyprus.

w Finalize a new agreement with the International Monetary Fund, in order to protect Turkey against risks when the country desperately needs foreign capital.

w Take place in international coordination efforts for the solution of the global economic crisis.

w Pay due attention to environmental issues.

But to put these into practice, the prime minister would need to adopt a quite different manner than that of the last four years and should have the motivation for consultation, patience, cooperation, modesty and desire to work with experts instead of "yes sayers."

We’ll see whether or not his personality would sustain so many modern values and principles. In fact, there is this other way laying before him: To adopt a populist/nationalist line of politics in every subject matter as a result of envy for votes that the CHP, MHP and Saadet won. Already experimented and exhausted by many before him, this policy line leads to a dead-end.

A blow is sometimes better than a hundred warnings. So through their votes electors warned the AKP and its "one man." And he said he read the message. We’ll see soon what message he read.
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In Cyprus no solution means annexation

28 Mart 2009
Cyprus is an unfortunate island that has been treated like a guinea pig by both nations who are the world leaders in nationalist bigotry. For decades, these two amateur chess-players, so to speak, keep making wrong moves and causing harm to the island and themselves. Now they play in overtime.

Mutual massacres committed in 1963, the 1974 coup d’Žtat by Nicos Samson, the second Atilla operation by the Turkish army, establishment of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, or TRNC, by the Turkish junta government in 1983 in a hurry despite a civilian, Turgut Özal was elected to the prime ministry seat then, EU candidacy and membership of the divided island, periods of nosayers Rauf Denktaş and of Tassos Papadopoulos, Denktaş paving the way for membership of the south of the island when he said "No" with the encouragement of Ankara in 2003 in the Hague, and the EU’s not lifting the economic isolation of the north though they promised to do so following the 2004 referendumÉ And finally the talks that have been launched after Cypriot Greeks elected their new President Dimitris Christophias early last year; the talks in which Greek and Turkish leaders of the island speak the same language for a solution.

However, relatively good results in talks in the island apparently disturbed the hawkish in Ankara and incited them to wipe off the ruling Republican Turkish Party, or CTP. As a result and helped by CTP’s clumsiness, former TRNC President Denktaş’s former party, the National Union Party, or UBP, seems most likely to win the early elections.

Reunification talks in Cyprus directly affect Turkey’s membership negotiations with the European Union. Coming from the tradition of "no solution is the solution" UBP, is certainly not the party who would fight for island’s reunification. Expecting the future UBP government, controlled by Ankara in all ways, to support President Mehmet Ali Talat in bilateral talks, is a waste of time. Therefore, settlement talks would fail on account of the Turkish side and Turkey’s membership negotiations with the EU would be negatively affected by this. If Turkey still wants to continue EU accession talks, the only way is to unilaterally open its air and sea ports to the vessels of the Republic of Cyprus to unblock the chapters that are frozen because of non ratification of the Additional Protocol to the customs union.

By taking side with those who say "no-solution is the solution," or those who at least do not say the opposite, the governing Justice and Development Party, or AKP, corners itself in the EU talks. But that’s apparently not enough. The AKP is preparing to work with the TRNC extension of the political mindset that it has been struggling in Turkey since coming to power.

I wonder if Ahmet Davudoğlu, chief foreign policy adviser to Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who was explaining on television programs how to scale-up Turkish foreign policy by using the Cyprus issue as an example, is aware of the fact that we are squeezed back into the Cyprus scale today. Could it be that Turkey is strolling around big scales yet cornering itself in the small Cyprus scale? Normalization of Greece and its EU path were cleared after the Cyprus coup and the Turkish intervention. Normalization of Turkey and its EU path though may come to an end for good because of the Cyprus issue. But in the end, these are after all planned on purpose?

Cyprus becoming an appendice of Turkey
Since 1974, Cyprus is like a water mill that cannot run without hand-carried water. The AKP for some time has been trying to fix the system which was totally irrational in economic terms since 1974. But the efforts are slowly turning into taming the CTP government in TRNC through money. TRNC is obviously a burden on Turkey in the current economic crisis. In the end, however, what is being done means adoption of Turkish standards in TRNC; or in other words, not having labor unions and obeying the religion and military. Natives of TRNC are neither sufficiently nationalist nor adequately Muslim. Mostly free thinkers and Europeanized, Cypriot Turks won’t change though. So this has been taken care of by importing habits and settlers from the mainland.

In the last four years, the superiority complex we developed is also valid when it comes to the Cyprus issue. Today, most of us sincerely believe the world may recognize TRNC, so do the civilian and military bureaucracy. But in the north of the island, the course of event signals not international recognition but annexation at best.
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