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EURODIALOGUE Winter 2011 - 2012 Volume 1

Turkey on the European doorstep

Journal of International Relations, European, Economic and Social Studies A Publication of CENTER OF EASTERN STUDIES PANTEION UNIVERSITY, ATHENS GREECE in co-operation with

Dr. Eleni THEOCHAROUS, MEP This Publication is based on the International Conference organised in the European Parliament (Brussels - Belgium), by the Member of the European Parliament Dr. Eleni Theocharous in collaboration with Istanbul Bilgi University - Turkey, Panteion University of Athens - Greece, University of Cyprus - Cyprus and University of Nicosia - Cyprus, on the 22nd/23rd of June 2011, titled “Turkey on the European doorstep” with the participation of politicians and academics from Turkey and the EU.

EDITORS: Ahmet Sedat AYBAR Associate Professor of Economics, Department of Economics, Chair Director of Centre for Middle-eastern and African Studies, Kadir Has University, İstanbul

Yiannos CHARALAMBIDES Doctor of International Relations and European Studies


EDITORIAL SCIENTIFIC ADVISORY BOARD Members of the Board Andreas THEOPHANOUS Professor of Political Economy, University of Nicosia, President, the Cyprus Center for European and International Affairs Ariana FERENDINOS Lecturer, Faculty of Communications, Bilgi University Head of University Radio Christodoulos YIALLOURIDES Professor of International Politics, Panteion University Savvas KATSIKIDES Professor of Social and Political Sciences/University of Cyprus

SUPPORTING EDITORIAL TEAM Mary PANOUSSI Executive MA in Marketing and Advertising, Université Libre de Bruxelles PhD Candidate in Environmental Communications, Freie Universität Berlin Thalia LIVADIOTOU MA in Public Sector, Panteion University, MBA general, Leicester University George CHARALAMBOUS MSc in Finance and Investment, University of Brighton



Dr Eleni Theocharous Dr Yiannos Charalambides

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Dr Yiannos Charalambides

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PUBLICATION ADDRESS: Center of Eastern Studies - Dept. of Communication, Media and Culture Panteion University of Social and Political Sciences 136 Syngrou avenue Athens 17671 GREECE

Dr Eleni Theocharous office ASP 08E250 60 rue Wiertz 1047, Brussels BELGIUM Eurodialogue is a periodic journal. Articles and book reviews may be sent to the above mentioned address. The journal can be acquired by contacting the editors. The full responsibility regarding the content of the articles belongs exclusively to the authors. This Journal has no commercial purpose and it is distributed for free.


Contents FOREWORD Dr Eleni THEOCHAROUS ................................................................................................ Member of the European Parliament Member of the Joint Parliamentary Committee EU-Turkey of the EP


PREFACE Dr STEFAN FÜHLE ............................................................................................................. Member of the European Commission Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy



◄► Dealing with the European Challenges .......... 8 ◄► European Parliament Priorities for .................. 12 Turkey following the Elections of the 12th of June 2012: the Need for “Uzlaşma” ◄► Turkey’s Bumpy Road to Democracy: ............ 15 The Current Issues and Challenges ahead in Freedom of Expression

CHAPTER 2: Turkey’s Economic Situation Ahmet Sedat AYBAR Reimer BOEGE

◄► Turkish Economy and Financial ...................... 32 Sector Development ◄► The European Budget Post-2013 ...................... 40 and its Effects on EU-Turkey Relations

CHAPTER 3: Power games and Turkish Membership Onur ÖYMEN

◄► Turkey-EU Relations, Problems ....................... and Prospects Andreas THEOPHANOUS ◄► European Integration and the .......................... Turkish Dilemma Yiannos CHARALAMBIDES ◄► Turkish Accession to the EU: ........................... The “Piranha’s” Threat and the German “Ghost Christodoulos K. YIALLOURIDES Afendoulis TH. LANGIDES ◄► Turkish External Orientation ............................ and Political Culture

64 71 81


CHAPTER 4: Turkey in the International System Yaşar YAKIŞ Ioannis KASOULIDES Maria-Eleni KOPPA 4

◄► Turkey’s Geopolitical Position and ................. 104 its Role as an Energy Corridor ◄► EU in the International Arena and .................. 130 the Role of Turkey ◄► Turkey: a ‘Strategic Partner’ or ........................ 137 a ‘Regional Power’

FOREWORD Dear reader, This collection of essays focuses on the Turkish Accession to the European Union which is a long-standing issue dominating European affairs. These essays follow a Conference that I organized in Brussels on the 22nd and 23rd of June 2011, within the European Parliament. The aim was to have the opportunity to analyze and share views on various aspects of the Turkish Accession to the EU, a task that is not at all easy. At the Conference, I had the opportunity to host distinguished Greek, Cypriot, Turkish and other European politicians, officials and academics with whom we worked in order to find common ground. I consider that all issues can be solved peacefully and through democratic dialogue by using the values and principles upon which the European Union is founded as a basis. This is why I took the decision to collect our contributions within this publication, with the hope that this can be yet another step stone toward to achieving a better understanding. It is a journal that reflects the political, economic and strategic views and significance of the Turkish accession to the EU. These views address the problems that the Turkish accession to the EU will encounter. Turkey is a large country that affects and is affected by European affairs. Τhis journal constitutes a sincere effort toward the establishment of a political strategy of common understanding.

ELENI THEOCHAROUS Member of the European Parliament


PREFACE At the 1999 Helsinki European Council, Member States declared that Turkey is “destined to join the Union on the basis of the same criteria as applied to the other Candidate States”. This position has been reconfirmed on many occasions until the opening of the negotiations in 2005. Turkey’s accession process is now facing a challenging phase. Negotiations have slowed down. Nevertheless, the Commission remains fully committed to the 1999 pledge and to the negotiations mandate received from the Member States in 2005. Turkey needs the EU and the EU needs Turkey. The EU-Turkey relationship is strong and based on a deep economic integration as well as joint strategic interests, in particular following the revolutions across the Middle East and Northern Africa. 40% of Turkey’s foreign trade goes to the EU, and 80% of foreign direct investments in Turkey, including a high proportion of technology, come from the EU. In addition, thousands of Turkish students, professors and researchers go every year to the EU in the framework of the Community Programmes. Furthermore, we cannot ignore the strategic role of Turkey as a regional player. The events in the Arab world have highlighted Turkey’s stability, prosperity, and democracy. Citizens in these countries look at Turkey, as they look at the EU: as a source of inspiration. The European Union and Turkey have much to gain by working together to enhance regional security, democracy, stability and growth. At the same time, a number of challenges must be tackled in order to give new momentum to the accession process. Turkey has to make further progress regarding the respect of fundamental rights, in particular as regards freedom of expression, minority rights and freedom of religion. In this context, political reforms remain at the core of the accession process. Obviously, the Cyprus issue weighs on the negotiations. Progress in the comprehensive settlement talks and full implementation by Turkey of the Additional Protocol of the Ankara Agreement would give a huge boost to the accession negotiations. We strongly encourage Turkey to support in concrete terms progress in the UN talks, especially following the meeting of 7 July between the leaders and the UN Secretary General. Our common challenge is to further deepen EU-Turkey integration. The accession negotiations are the best tool to do this. They provide for further economic integration, but also help anchor the rule of law, democracy and human rights. It is now time to give the negotiations new momentum, and I am positive the European Union can do that together with our Turkish friends. STEFAN FÜLE Commissioner of Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy 6

CHAPTER 1 Turkish Reforms


Dealing with the European Challenges ELENI THEOCHAROUS* If the efforts of the Turkish accession to the European Union had to be classified, one would find two main facets: the issues related to external affairs on the one hand and those focusing upon the internal democratic reforms on the other. Turkish ambitions for a strategic role in the world and a global and regional leadership are eminent. Its plans to emerge as a diplomatic and economic regional power with aspirations of regional leadership in the Caucasus, the near and Middle East, the Black Sea and the Balkans, are more than obvious. Beyond the issues which affect foreign affairs however we must also observe the dramatic change and efforts made by Turkish society to satisfy the gate-keepers of the EU and on the reformist initiatives taken by the AKP and the opposition parties, in order to improve the protection of human rights and set limits upon the military control exercised over the civilian governing processes. These efforts constitute a package of reforms with the aim of radically changing the image and institutional infrastructures of the Turkish State. They are of utmost importance if they are to achieve Turkish full membership. Since the initiation of the accession process, and particularly since 2005, changes in the Turkish society have become both visible and significant. Nevertheless, the accession of Turkey is multifaceted and has political and economic aspects. Under certain conditions, Turkey as a full member of the EU would gradually have the greatest number of votes in the European Council within the next 15 years and the largest budget transfer. Within 15 years, unrestricted migration may increase the number of the Turkish immigrant population up to 3 million in Germany, and this might increase the problem of integration of this community into the German society. This is of course a German problem, since the German Government considers the immigrants of Turkish origin as temporary workers.


Member of the European Parliament Member of the Joint Parliamentary Committee EU-Turkey of the European Parliament


EURODIALOGUE Journal of International Relations, European, Economic and Social Studies

However, the main obstacles of the accession are political: Turkey needs good governance in an enhanced democracy with full respect of human rights, the rights of minorities in the country and protection of religious and linguistic freedoms, with a constitutionally implemented freedom of the press, and reforms in the legislative and judicial systems. Recep Tayyip Erdogan expressed his intention to proceed with constitutional reforms on a number of occasions. I hope that with the election of the new government last June, Turkey will enhance democracy, combat corruption, eradicate violations of human rights, and address major outstanding issues like honour killings, discrimination for sexual orientation or gender identity, rape and other sexual crimes. These issues are of great importance to the negotiations. Europe is continuously scrutinizing Turkey on the problem of human rights. Of course, one could rightly argue that Western communities also face similar problems. For example rapes, sexual harassment and the trafficking of human beings for sexual exploitation remain common in the West. In certain cases this phenomenon may even be worse than in Turkey. In this vein, I believe that a certain extent, violations of human rights are global, and that reforms must be introduced everywhere and not exclusively in Turkey. The most important characteristic of the Turkish people is the shift from conservatism to an open and outspoken society. Regardless of the origin of the people whether secular or Islamic, both communities are changing. I am certain that the Turkish Civil society is becoming increasingly liberal and more open. During the meetings of JPC, the members of the European Parliament are given the opportunity to discuss the problems citizens face in every day life with NGOs and the representatives of the community. Religious Freedom is a challenging chapter and I suggest that Turkey takes a brave step and goes through change, leaving behind past prejudices. Even today, Christians, Alleviates and other minorities still face obstacles in practising their faith, and as non-Muslims in Turkey, they face strong social scrutiny and hostility. Religious services remain restricted as they require official authorization and permission from the Turkish administration. Should Turkey give substantial space to the non-Muslim religious persons, I believe Turkey on the European doorstep


Dealing with the European Challenges

the benefits derived will be much higher than any cost. I hope and expect that Turkey will soon make the right decision. On the other hand I must admit that the emergence of Islamophobia in several European countries has dampened Turkish eagerness to pursue the road to the European Union. Bearing in mind that Neo-Ottomanism is a growingly strong notion in contemporary Turkish politics, it is obvious that they would seek to establish a Commonwealth with the neighbours and other traditionally Muslim countries. This constitutes an attractive strategic proposal that seduces the Turkish public opinion, despite the fact that it is considered a challenge to the country’s neighbours. The main question is whether and when will Turkey join the European Union? This question is directly related to the legal and political status of a future relationship between Turkey and the EU. If full accession is not achieved, what would a so-called “privileged regime” be like? The answers to these questions do not solely depend upon the Turkish reforms or the will of the Member States. Turkey needs to be bold at radically reforming the state. The new Government must demonstrate its dedication to democracy and to the implementation of human rights and democratic values. The abolition of the death penalty, the freedom and protection of the press, the release of all jailed journalists and the abolition of detention without trial must become a priority. I consider the amendment or the redrafting of the new constitutional order an essential point. At this stage one raises the question: Will Erdogan implement a presidential political system? If he does, will this system be more democratic or more authoritarian? Will he abolish the 10% limit for a party to enter Parliament? The European Union has already offered full support to the Turkish Government and is now expecting from those in power, and from the invincible Recep Tayyip Erdogan, all the necessary structural changes and reforms for the establishment of a democratic European state. The other side of the coin represents the personal political agenda of Mr Erdogan. According to numerous political analyses, Erdogan’s authoritarian thirst for power and ambitions will lead to internal political conflicts which will victimise the efforts for drastic reforms. According to similar analysis and to discussions



EURODIALOGUE Journal of International Relations, European, Economic and Social Studies

I had the chance to participate in during my visits to Turkey people speak of the “Erdogan Dictatorship” and contend that the only opposition to the government is the EU. Personally, I support the accession of Turkey to the EU. As a Cypriot, a citizen of a small state, I prefer a good caring democratic neighbour than a tough aggressive dictatorship expressing continuous threats towards us. I strongly believe that a Turkish accession will be the result of the Turkish reforms required and of the dramatic change of their policy towards Cyprus. The Cyprus issue must be resolved in accordance with the principles and values upon which the EU is founded; and Turkey must withdraw all troops and settlers from Cyprus before joining the EU. There are, of course, voices that argue that Turkish full membership may not materialize due to the conflict of interests on issues irrelevant to the unresolved Cyprus problem: some leading EU countries still do not wish to see Turkey as a full Member State. However, I wonder if the Turkish Islamists and conservatives still want Turkey to join the EU. In such a case, a “privileged partner” regime may be the only target we can achieve. However, I fully agree with the Turks that all these reforms should be done not for the sake of the EU but for a better democratic future of Turkey.

Turkey on the European doorstep


European Parliament Priorities for Turkey Following the Elections of the 12th of June 2012: the Need for “Uzlaşma” RIA OOMEN - RUIJTEN* Introduction “Uzlaşma” is the Turkish word for “consensus and compromise,” and this will be crucial in the coming months. For several years now, the government and the opposition have been in a deadlock on fundamental reforms, and this mutual suspicion blocks the country’s attempts to make changes. Progress is only possible if there is a real dialogue and consensus between all actors in society. Therefore I call on all political parties to collaborate in their efforts so that the reform process will be accelerated. The election campaign for the latest Turkish elections focused on the need for constitutional change and minority rights. Government and opposition gained votes but the AKP government lost seats. Moreover an important group of independent BDP candidates appeared to represent the Kurdish voice. I lauded government and opposition, not only for the results but also for concrete proposals during campaign. Now the time has come to deliver. Copenhagen criteria The Copenhagen criteria remain the cornerstone of EU integration and are therefore of crucial importance for any country that wants to join the EU. In 2004, Turkey made a commitment to fulfil the Copenhagen Criteria and on that basis negotiations with the European Union were opened in 2005. As Rapporteur of the European Parliament on Turkey’s 2010 progress report, I closely follow the progress and developments in fulfilling these criteria on behalf of the European Parliament. Since 2007, the reform process in Turkey has stagnated for various reasons. This is peculiar, as the government (which claims to be promoting



Member of the European Parliament, Rapporteur on Turkey’s 2010 progress report.

EURODIALOGUE Journal of International Relations, European, Economic and Social Studies

reform) has a comfortable majority and has had the capacity to make use of this strong parliamentary majority in order to resolutely pursue reforms. Furthermore, the 2010 Progress report of the European Commission signals that although there have been some reforms further progress towards meeting the political criteria is of major importance. On the other hand, there have been a number of positive developments in Turkey over the last years such as Turkey signing the protocols for normalisation of relations with Armenia, the public debate on the rights for citizens of Kurdish origin, and the work on a comprehensive judicial reform strategy. Turkey’s commitment to the Nabucco - project is also a strong signal. A second recurring issue is the implementation of adopted reforms. Fulfilling the Copenhagen criteria involves more than simply adopting new laws or changing the constitution. These new laws have to be implemented throughout the whole country. I am particularly worried about the impunity and the passivity regarding domestic violence, honour killings and forced marriages. One out of every four women has been injured as a result of physical or sexual violence. Although all necessary legislation is now in place, the implementation is still insufficient. Apart from these general challenges there are a number of issues which are reason for particular concern. I concur with the analysis of the European Commission regarding the political pressure on the media that affects press and media freedom. Moreover, the situation regarding minority rights remains a matter of great concern and the problems of the Alevi and non-Muslim religious communities still have to be solved. Last but not least, the European Parliament has repeatedly called on Turkey to fully implement the Additional Protocol to the Association Agreement. Not only do we consider this to be a contractual obligation of Turkey, the issue also casts a large shadow over the EU-Turkey negotiations. Looking at the near future I would like to conclude by affirming that adopting a genuine and broadly supported agenda for reform (including constitutional reform) is crucial not only for the negotiations but first and foremost for Turkish society itself. Only a society which is guided by respect for human

Turkey on the European doorstep


European Parliament Priorities for Turkey Following the Elections of the 12th of June 2012: the Need for “UzlaĹ&#x;maâ€?

rights and fundamental freedoms, and one which is based upon democracy, rule of law and a socially oriented market economy can develop into a stable and prosperous society. These are the goals of the Copenhagen criteria; and therefore all political parties in Turkey should work together constructively to achieve a consensus about the modernisation of the country. Conclusion Much has been done, not only in terms of harmonizing laws and regulations; but also, and most importantly, much has been achieved in terms of the understanding that only more democracy and full participation of all of society can bring prosperity and stability. With all this in mind, it has been especially gratifying to see the recent changes in Turkish society. Many citizens, intellectuals and representatives of minorities have sought to participate actively in modernising Turkey. That open debate on many issues was previously considered taboo, and now is not, is a proof of this. My message, in each and every progress report, has been that the drive for more democracy is much more important than the opening of technical negotiations. Therefore, it is very important that government and opposition together with civil society combine and redouble there efforts to make Turkey a more democratic and prosperous country. Turkey is a unique country therefore the negotiations with Turkey are unique. Many in Europe have very strong feelings about Turkish membership of the EU. We should allow this debate to continue but Turkey has to seize the opportunity to answer all criticisms and dissuade those who hold negative ones.



Turkey’s Bumpy Road to Democracy: The Current Issues and Challenges Ahead for Freedom of Expression ASLI TUNÇ* “One of the most beautiful things to do is to paint darkness, which nevertheless has light in it.” Vincent Van Gogh Introduction Turkey is definitely a land of remarkable contradictions. On one hand, the Turkish economy has expanded by nearly nine per cent in 2010 while other European countries have come through the financial crisis indebted, stunted and broke; the inflation is currently in the low single digits and real interest rates close to zero1. Turkey has become a forceful player in regional affairs; and long taboo subjects, such as the role of the military in the public life and the past agonies of minorities in recent Turkish history have started to be discussed openly. On the other hand, on the part of the ruling political party, the Justice and Development Party (AKP), there appears to be a disturbing increase in intolerance for any kind of opposition. Efforts, by pro-government officials on the judiciary and among the security forces, to muzzle the critics of AKP, are quite visible; and, with many legal cases and threats against journalists, the country is ranked 138th out of 178 countries in the “world press freedom index” issued by the Paris-based advocacy group Reporters Without Borders2. Thus, in spite of the initial enthusiasm and optimism of the liberal elite about the attacks on the military establishment, this optimistic atmosphere seems to have vanished as the country’s new Islamist conservative elites showed themselves quick to use the same methods as their enemies to maintain power. *

Associate Professor, School of Communications, İstanbul Bilgi University.

1. Financial Times, Special Report on Turkey, “Time to Make Most of the Lime Lİght, ”Delphine Strauss, June 28, 2011, p.1-4. 2.,1034.html.


European Parliament Priorities for Turkey Following the Elections of the 12th of June 2012: the Need for “Uzlaşma”

The situation of the media in the country has become one of the most defining factors in the failure of a fully functioning democracy in Turkey. The urgency of undertaking the reforms in the areas of human rights and freedom of the press has been emphasised by The EU Commission Turkey 2010 Progress Report and by the Commissioner of Human Rights of the Council of Europe, Thomas Hammerberg’s, Report on Media Freedom in Turkey, in April of 20113. The Shift in the Media Ownership Structure While talking about the freedom of press, it would be a mistake not to mention the shift in the media ownership structure in Turkey. Since coming to power in 2002, the ruling party AKP used legal loopholes to confiscate and to sell independent media organizations to party supporters, and the media landscape changed drastically. In 2002, pro-AKP businesses owned less than 20 percent of Turkish media outlets. Today, pro-government partisans own around half of it. Media companies are split into “proponents” and “opponents” of the government. It is argued that the government has facilitated the establishment of “proponent” media organizations by providing easy credit and also by indirectly threatening “opponent” media owners by opening tax-related procedures against them. The Savings Deposit Insurance Fund’s (IMSF) intervention has changed the ownership of various media companies during the last decade. As a result of this, groups previously unengaged in media activities have stepped into the sector. Media owners, in fact, have substantial investments in other sectors, including construction, and energy. The presence of such economic and financial relations between the government and media owners through processes of privatization, and the issuing of concessions, privileges and royalties undermines media independence.

3. /tr_rapport_2010_en.pdf and t=FEC65B&BackColorIntranet=FEC65B&BackColorLogged=FFC679



EURODIALOGUE Journal of International Relations, European, Economic and Social Studies

The seemingly diverse media scene in Turkey is highly deceptive. There are mainly five conglomerates, namely Doğan Media Group (DMG), Çalık Holding, Çukurova Holding, Doğus Grubu, Ciner Grubu and İhlas Holding in the country sharing all the media outlets and “there seems to be no efficient way to control the concentration of media ownership.”4 In March 3, 2011, the ownership structure of radio and television enterprises has been revised. Law No. 61125 increased the maximum limit on foreign investment from 25 percent to 50 percent, on the condition that the same foreign investor cannot invest in more than two enterprises. This adoption of this law is expected to change the domestic media market where international media companies can be major partners of the broadcasting companies. In the current media scene, Doğan Media Group currently owns 26 television channels (Kanal D, Star TV, CNN Turk, Cable TV channels), four radio stations, six daily newspapers (Hürriyet, Radikal, Posta, Fanatik, Referans, Hürriyet Daily News), 27 magazines, one digital platform (D-Smart), one distribution company (Yay-Sat), one news agency (DHA), 25 news portals. 40 per cent of the total circulation of national newspapers belongs to this group. A good example of the close links between the political establishment and the media would be Çalık Holding which owns one television (ATV), one radio (Radyo City), six newspapers (Sabah, Takvim, Günaydın, Yeni Asır, Pas, Fotomaç), 12 magazines and one distribution company. The CEO of Çalık Holding, Berat Albayrak, is the son-in-law of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan where the conglomerate owns 20 per cent of the advertising shares in the printing press and 23 per cent of the shares in the broadcasting sector.

4. Papathanassopoulos, S. 2005. “The Mediterranean/Polarized Pluralist Media Model Countries”, G. Terzis (ed.), European Media Governance: National and Regional Dimensions, Bristol and Chicago: Intellect, p. 194. 5. Law No. 6112 on the Establishment of Radio and Television Enterprises and Their Broadcasts (6112 Sayılı Radyo ve Televizyonların Kuruluş ve Yayın Hizmetleri Hakkında Kanun).

Turkey on the European doorstep


European Parliament Priorities for Turkey Following the Elections of the 12th of June 2012: the Need for “Uzlaşma”

The owners of the biggest media groups are also involved as investors and shareholders in different sectors of the economy, such as health, education, construction, and telecommunication. Although all the media groups may have conflicting economic interests as well as different ideological stands and political positions, they share the same “mindset” in upholding the “interests of the state” and “national security” above democracy, human rights and media freedom. The media outlets, which are close to the political circles benefit from the financial gains and become tools of partisanship. The deals, tenders and mergers are opaque as there is no regulation to guarantee the financial transparency, which causes the ownership of media in the country to come to a deadlock. In the last decade, the public broadcaster, TRT, became more visually appealing because of digitalization, yet, there has been little improvement in content. TRT, in theory, has a mission, according to its charter, to commit to impartial broadcasting and to be independent of any political party. However, TRT management’s approach has been contrary to the constitutional principle of autonomy and neutrality. Prof. Haluk Şahin, an academic and a well-known TV journalist, expressed his opinions longing for the good old days of TRT during Cem Duna’s tenure. As a former producer of TRT at that period, he says “for independence, you need independent-minded journalists running TRT, and not a bunch of hand-picked bureaucrats and technocrats trying to please the AKP government.”6 According to TESEV (Turkish Economic and Social Studies Foundation) 2011 Report, however, despite TRT’s questionable impartiality, controversial issues such as Cyprus, relations with Armenia, the Kurdish question and the army’s intervention into politics are being debated on state television and radio, contrary to the past experiences.7 In order to appeal to culturally diverse and different groups of the society, several steps have recently been taken as part of the EU reform efforts to give cultural rights to minorities. TRT 6 (Şeş) began to broadcast in Kurdish starting January 2009. 6. Interview with Prof. Haluk Şahin at Istanbul Bilgi University, December 24, 2010. 7. Communicating Democracy-Democratizing Communication, Media in Turkey: Legislation, Policies, Actors. TESEV Report by Esra Elmaz, Dilek Kuban, TESEV Publications, June, 2011, p. 97.



EURODIALOGUE Journal of International Relations, European, Economic and Social Studies

Some overseas-based Kurdish TVs broadcast via satellite. However, the progovernment tone of TRT has recently intensified, especially with respect to news programming. During the AKP tenure, TRT is heavily slanted in favor or the government in power and their supporters. No news critical of the government is likely to make it into the news broadcasts. These broadcasts reflect the new ideological status quo, i.e., a mixture of religion-tinted conservatism, superficial liberalism and the pragmatic governmental line. Repressive Laws and Regulations The Penal Code Reporting of legal matters is one of the main causes of prosecution of journalists, based on the Penal Code’s article 285 (legal confidentiality) and 288 (trying to influence the result of a trial). The right to be informed is unfortunately not a priority in Turkey. Article 285 punishes “anyone who violates the confidentiality of an investigation” including journalists between one and three years imprisonment. Additionally, Article 288 provides six months and three years imprisonment for the vaguely defined crime of “making verbal or written statements in public in order to influence a prosecutor, judge, court, expert or witnesses before an investigation and prosecution has concluded with a legally binding verdict.” The nature of the “influence” is not defined, which allows judges to loosely interpret it. For journalists, revealing or publishing details of the prosecution or defence for public’s right to know or even simply commenting on the conduct of the investigation or decisions taken, comes under this article. Journalists criticizing institutions or simply the behavior of police can be imprisoned under article 125 (insults, with heavier penalties when it concerns a representative of the state), 299 (defaming the president) and 300 (insulting symbols of the state). Since taking office in 2002, Erdoğan used Article 8 of the Penal Code concerning “crimes against dignity” and in particular Article 125 on Defamation, against stand-up comedians, political opponents, several political cartoonists, and even against a student theater group. As the only concrete outcome of Mr. Erdoğan’s pledges he made on the balcony on the eve of June 12, all lawsuits were dropped he had lodged against Turkey on the European doorstep


European Parliament Priorities for Turkey Following the Elections of the 12th of June 2012: the Need for “Uzlaşma”

private individuals, politicians and journalists for insulting him. However, this gesture did not help with ensuring freedom of expression for journalists and people in the country as a whole. Criticism of the armed forces can also bring prosecution under Article 305 (undermining basic national interests) or 318 (inciting abstention from compulsory military service), and is punishable by between six months and two years in prison. Law 5816 (1951) punishes those who insult the legacy of the founder of the Turkish Republic, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk and article 130 of the Penal Code provides between three months and two years in prison for “defaming the memory of a deceased person.” Those articles of the Penal Code are frequently and randomly used to prosecute or intimidate journalists since punishment of most of these crimes doubles if committed through media. The Anti-Terror Law In addition to the provisions the Criminal Code, the Anti-Terror Law has also a bearing on freedom of expression. Since 1991, this law was aimed at the Kurdish dispute in Southeastern Anatolia severely punishing the terrorist threats. On 2006, despite the amendment of the law, there are still many provisions used against journalists. The provision most often used against journalists is Article 6, which provides for between one and three years imprisonment for “those who announce that the crimes of a terrorist organization are aimed at certain persons, whether or not such persons are named, or who disclose or publish the identity of officials on anti-terrorist duties, or who identify such persons as targets” and “those who print or publish leaflets and declarations of terrorist organizations.” Article 7 provides between one and five years imprisonment for anyone “making propaganda” for a “terrorist organization” whereas the term “propaganda” is not clearly defined. This code is randomly used for pro-Kurdish media outlets and journalists who investigate the Kurdish issue. For instance, On June 13, 2011, the following day after the third landslide victory of AKP, Turkey’s only Kurdish-language daily, Azadiya Welat, was suspended again (for the ninth time) for 15 days and all copies ordered seized for allegedly printing “propaganda for a terrorist organization.”



EURODIALOGUE Journal of International Relations, European, Economic and Social Studies

The Anti-Terror Law directly contradicts Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights: “Freedom of expression constitutes one of the essential foundations of a democratic society and is applicable not only to ‘information’ or ‘ideas’ that were favorably received or regarded as inoffensive or as a matter of indifference, but also to those that offended, shocked or disturbed.” There are currently 57 journalists in Turkish prisons, most are held for allegedly conducting terrorist propaganda. Two respected investigative journalists Ahmet Şık and Nedim Şener have been staying in prison in relation to an ongoing investigation into “the Ergenekon Conspiracy,” an apparent attempt to destabilize the country and lay the basis for a coup d’état. This investigation has bloated beyond recognition today and been used as a tool to muzzle the opponents of the government. The list of “plotters” has grown very long and currently includes a lot of the sort of retirees, journalists, and academics that one doesn’t normally associate with violent overthrow of the government. Ironically, Ahmet Şık was actually one of the journalists who unearthed the Ergenekon conspiracy in the first place and is believed to get silenced before he publishes a book (The Imam’s Army) on a religious network (Gülen Brotherhood) close to the government8. However, efforts to ban the book before it was even published backfired badly - the copy of the book has been distributed widely on the Internet. When asked on a television program about this subject, the Prime Minister without the safety net of a well-written text or a prompter, he blurted, “some books can be more dangerous than bombs.”

8. Fethullah Gülen is a provincial Turkish preacher. However, his movement today is considered as “one of the most powerful and best-connected of the networks that are competing to influence Muslims round the globe.” Gülen preaches a moderate version of Islam, borrowing from Sufism and promoting dialogue with other monotheistic religions. He has also become known for promoting education and free enterprise, and his movement is thus in tune with some of the social changes in modern Turkey. Gülen is believed to play a political role since his followers are increasingly visible in key public positions, which makes the movement often suspected of being a secret branch of the ruling party, AKP to infiltrate the civil service. Ahmet Şık, in his book, The Imam’s Army, alleged that Gülen Brotherhood had close links with the AKP and had already penetrated the police force.

Turkey on the European doorstep


European Parliament Priorities for Turkey Following the Elections of the 12th of June 2012: the Need for “Uzlaşma”

Journalists’ Working Conditions and Self-Censorship When the American columnist, Andrew Finkel, criticized the anti-democratic practices and prosecution of Ahmet Şık’s book at Today’s Zaman newspaper, it did not take long to be sacked from his post since Today’s Zaman is known to be related with the Fethullah Gülen movement and to be close to the government. According to Finkel, he filed his column at noon and was given notice four hours later and was refused to publish his article with an explanation that “he was no longer suitable with the paper’s editorial policy.” He later published his article on Hürriyet Daily News9. Andrew Finkel has been covering Turkey for foreign and local media for more than two decades10. The other news with a chilling effect came on July 8, 2011 when the successful anchor woman of NTV news channel, Banu Güven, got fired because of her oppositional views of the government. In an open letter to the Prime Minister posted on her blog, she explained the dilemmas, the pressures and the threats journalists have been facing in recent years11. According to a survey on self-censorship conducted among 67 journalists from a variety of media outlets, 91.4% of the journalists indicated that they have been applying self-censorship while 81.5% pointed out that self-censorship was widely common in the profession12. The Turkish journalists’ main concern is mostly losing their jobs because of what they print or say on the air.

9. “A Dilemma”, April 7, 2011. 10. See 11. See 12. Arsan, Esra. “Gazeteci Gözüyle Sansür ve Otosansür,” Cogito, 67, pp. 56-73, Yapi Kredi Publications, Summer 2011.



EURODIALOGUE Journal of International Relations, European, Economic and Social Studies

Most of the media employees work outside the press law regulating the rights of journalists (known as the Act 212) and without permanent contracts and job security. Media workers who are not provided a contract under the Act 212 cannot obtain a press card and cannot become a member of Turkish Journalists Union (TGS) which is the only trade union that has the authority to negotiate collective agreements for journalists. Until the 1990s, the TGS could negotiate collective agreements with most major newspapers. However, at the beginning of the 1990s, pressure from media owners put an end to the influence of the TGS and discouraged union organizing. Today, the unilateral contracts are imposed to journalists by the media conglomerates which include provisions that are used to dismiss journalists easily. According to the statistics of the Ministry of Labor and Social Security the number of registered journalists with permanent contracts is 14.494. Lack of minority Press The newspapers of non-Muslim minorities (Armenian, Jewish and Greek) in Turkey are losing their readership giving harm to the diversity and pluralism of the society. They have extremely limited circulations ranging from 500 to 2,000. For instance, Şalom, a 16-page weekly for Turkey’s Jewish community, is relatively young compared to newspapers of other non-Muslim groups. Established in 1947, it was published in Ladino, a 500-year-old language spoken by Jews who moved to the Ottoman Empire from Spain in 1492. In the 1980s, it switched to Turkish for the younger generation that no longer spoke Ladino in their daily lives, but one page in the newspaper is still published in this language. Şalom’s current circulation is 18,000 copies which dropped from 50,000 in the 1950s13. It has 40 authors that regularly contribute on a voluntary basis and 15 employees. The newspaper has also iPad and iPhone applications to attract young readers and it reaches wider audience online. The Greek Orthodox minority’s main newspaper, the 86year old daily, Apoyevmatini (Mid-Afternoon) has recently faced the threat of closure. Because of the shrinking population of Greek minority in the country from 90,000 to 3,000 over the past five decades and the economic cri-

13. Tuduk, Mine, “Azınlıkların Sesi Kısık,” Radikal, July 20, 2011, p. 18-19.

Turkey on the European doorstep


European Parliament Priorities for Turkey Following the Elections of the 12th of June 2012: the Need for “Uzlaşma”

sis in Greece, this tiny publication reached to the point of folding. Apoyevmatini has only 600 subscribers - a figure, it claims, ensures that it still reaches every Greek family in the city. The paper cannot get financial aid from the Turkish State since a publication should have at least a circulation of 5000 in order to receive grant. On July 2011, an unprecedented example of solidarity, a coterie of young people started an online campaign titled, “Don’t let Apoyevmatini close down” to get subscription. Turkish people without knowing the Greek language subscribed to pledge support for the publication. On July 12 issue, the paper for the first time in its history printed a thank you note on its front page in Turkish. The Armenian paper, Jamanak (Time), is one of the oldest newspapers in Turkey. In addition to domestic news, the Armenian paper covers community news. It first started publishing in October of 1908 in Istanbul. The original publishers were the Misak and Sarkis Koçunyan brothers currently selling around 1,500 to 2,000 copies. In its earlier years, Jamanak was distributed in much of the Ottoman land, from the Balkans to Anatolia and Egypt with a circulation of 15,000. With the decreasing size of the community, Jamanak has gone from being a national newspaper to an Istanbul community to keep the Armenian legacy, its culture and the life of the community alive. The turning point not just in the minority press but in the Turkish political history was undoubtedly the assassination of editor in chief-of Agos, Hrant Dink on January 19, 2007. The murder of Hrant Dink in front of his office building on the daylight shook the whole nation to its core. The outcry and search for justice still go on with a belief that Dink’s assassination is linked to elements within Turkey’s “Deep State”. Dink’s family filed lawsuits against 31 officials - including the former governor of Istanbul and the former local gendarmerie commander and police chief in Trabzon - for neglect and “aiding the murderer by way of making it easy to commit the crime.” After this horrific event, weekly Turkish-Armenian paper, Agos became more influential, gave space to non-Armenian columnists, its circulation increased among the Turkish readers and went beyond the borders of the Armenian community.



EURODIALOGUE Journal of International Relations, European, Economic and Social Studies

Internet Regulations and Debates on Web Censorship Legal provisions and practices related to freedom of expression, the free flow of information and media pluralism on the Internet are crucial topics need to be discussed in the framework of freedom of expression in Turkey.14 The most problematic regulation is Law No.5651, commonly known as the Internet Law, passed in 200715. The definition of the law is provided as the “Fighting Against and Auditing Internet Crimes Committed Through Online Publications”. 16 According to the most recent regulation, the provider is responsible from the location, access and the content of the news presented online, while the locator is not required to have control over the content whether an unlawful activity is taking place by content providers. The definition of criminal activities were quoted from the Law No.5237, and include the sexual abuse of children (Article 103), orienting reader to a suicidal activity (Article 84), facilitating the use or narcotic or stimulant substances (Article 190), obscenity (Article 226), prostitution (Article 227), providing a platform for gambling activities (Article 228), and supply of dangerous substances imperiling health care (Article 194).17 The enactment of this law followed concerns for the availability of offensive videos involving the founder of the Turkish Republic Mustafa Kemal Atatürk on YouTube, combined with increasing concerns for the availability of child pornographic, obscene, and Satanist content on the Internet, and websites which provide information about suicide, or about illegal substances deemed harmful or inappropriate for children.18 14. The OSCE Report on Freedom of the Media on Turkey and Internet Censorship by Prof. Yaman Akdeniz, discusses the Internet Law No: 5651 and offers recommendations on how to bring the law in line with international standards protecting freedom of expression: 15. Law No 5651 was published on the Turkish Official Gazette on 23.05.2007, No. 26030. 16. “Law on Fighting Against Crimes Committed Online”, Official Web Site of Department of Cyber Crimes, available at: 17. ibid. 18. See

Turkey on the European doorstep


European Parliament Priorities for Turkey Following the Elections of the 12th of June 2012: the Need for “Uzlaşma”

The Telecommunications Communication Presidency (TIB) was chosen as the organization responsible for executing blocking orders issued by the courts, and has been given authority to issue administrative blocking orders with regards to certain Internet content hosted in Turkey. Article 8 of this Law authorizes blocking access to certain websites if there is even an “adequate suspicion” that any of the following eight offences are being committed: encouraging suicide, sexual exploitation or abuse of children, facilitating the use of narcotics, supply of unhealthy substances, obscenity, online betting; or anti-Atatürk crimes. Law No. 5651 is widely used for mass blocking of websites and in its current form it not only limits freedom of expression, but severely restricts the citizens’ right to access information. In January 2010, an OSCE report on internet censorship documented that 3,700 internet websites were blocked in Turkey. As of July 2011, that number is estimated to be around 15,000.19 Certain leftist and pro-Kurdish news websites are blocked consistently, especially those dealing with southeastern Turkey, home to most of the country’s Kurdish population.20 The Law No. 5651 may have serious repercussions on a number of fundamental rights protected under the Turkish Constitution and international human rights law. The blocking policy undoubtedly has a very strong impact on freedom of expression, which is one of the founding principles of democracy and is a violation of Article 10 of ECHR. Based on legal and procedural deficiencies, the Law No. 5651 should be brought in line with international standards on freedom of expression, or otherwise be abolished. Under a new regulation announced by the Information Technologies and Communication Authority (BTK) on February 22, 2011, Internet users will have to choose between one of four Internet filtering options: family, children, domestic or standard. Although this regulation was due to be effective 19. According to, some 14,379 Internet websites are currently inaccessible either as the result of a court decision or at the initiative of the TIB. 20. Yaman Akdeniz, Report of the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media on Turkey and Internet Censorship (Vienna: OSCE, January 2010), documents/rfm/2010/01/42294_en.pdf



EURODIALOGUE Journal of International Relations, European, Economic and Social Studies

on August 22, 2011, it was revised upon the recommendations of the Internet Council, a branch of the Transportation and Communications Ministry and postponed to November 22. According to the initial system, one of the four filters would have to be installed on every computer for it to have online access. The list of websites blocked by each filter is classified. After the modified system, the number of filters has been reduced from four to two (“family” and “children”).21 Once the filtering system starts, all the packages will block certain websites, and the filtering criteria will not be made public. However, Internet users should have the freedom to make an independent decision about using content filters or families should have the liberty to purchase and download optional filtering software to protect their children. In a further attempt to control the Internet, The Telecommunications Communication Presidency (TIB) announced a plan to ban 138 English and Turkish words from Internet domain names, including ‘beat,’ ‘escort,’ ‘homemade,’ ‘hot,’ ‘nubile,’ ‘free’ and ‘teen.’ Some English words would also be banned because of their meanings in Turkish: ‘pic,’ short for picture, is banned because it means (piç) ‘bastard’ in Turkish. The past tense of the verb ‘get’ is also banned because ‘got’ means ‘butt’ in Turkish. Haydar, a very common Alevi name for men, is also banned because it means penis in slang. ‘Gay’ and its Turkish pronunciation, ‘gey;’ ‘çıplak’ (naked); ‘itiraf’ (confession); ‘liseli’ (high school student); ‘nefes’ (breath) and ‘yasak’ (forbidden) are some of the other banned words. The restriction is allegedly designed to protect children from harmful content on the Internet. TIB cited Law No: 5651 as the legal ground for his ban and this development left tens of thousands of Turkish websites facing the risk of closure. The online censorship caused uproar and triggered protests around the country. The anti-Net censorship campaigns launched in 2010 met with various degrees of success, such as the one initiated by 21. “Turkey Backtracks on Controversial Internet Filtering Plans,” Today’s Zaman, August 5, 2011, sial-internet-filtering-plans.html

Turkey on the European doorstep


European Parliament Priorities for Turkey Following the Elections of the 12th of June 2012: the Need for “Uzlaşma” (“Stop Internet Censorship in Turkey!”), or the website (“Censor Censorship”), or the one entitled “İnternet Sansür değil, Hız İster” (“The Internet needs speed, not censorship”). These campaigns, among others, were well covered online. Online protests have been backed by several real-life demonstrations. In July 2010, for the first time, over 2,000 people paraded down Istanbul’s İstiklal Avenue, answering a call by sites campaigning for freedom of expression on the Net. They called for the end of online censorship and denounced the authorities’ lack of response to calls for amending Law 5651 on Internet-related offences. Despite the restrictive legal environment, the Turkish blogosphere is surprisingly vibrant and diverse. There 35 million internet users and 28 million Facebook users as of June 2011.22 Turkish users are increasingly relying on internet-based publications as a primary source of news. There is a wide range of blogs and websites on which citizens question and criticize Turkish politics and leaders, including on issues that are generally viewed as politically sensitive. The majority of civil society groups maintain an online presence, and social-networking sites such as Facebook, FriendFeed, and especially the micro blogging platform Twitter are used for a variety of functions, including political campaigns and digital activism.23

22. Internet World Stats: 23. Freedom House Turkey Report, Freedom on the Net 2011: http://www.freedomhouse. org/images/File/FotN/Turkey2011.pdf



EURODIALOGUE Journal of International Relations, European, Economic and Social Studies

Where Do We Go From Here? Many questions regarding the future of the media freedom and human rights issues are difficult to answer and this precisely what still rattles a deeply polarized society. As discussed above, Turkish justice system puts forward anti-terror measures against journalists who are only doing their job. Especially, particular articles under the Anti-terror Law providing for prison sentences in cases involving “propaganda for a terrorist organization”, very often lead to journalists’ being brought before special courts for organized crime. Because of various punitive laws, the country remains a minefield for critical reporting and investigative journalism. It seems that it should not be outrageous to remain wary over country’s future path including the Prime Minister’s growing intolerance to criticism and authoritarian tendencies and over the 57 journalists who are in prison, the ongoing trials that can result in imprisonment of journalists, the increasing trend of self-censorship among journalists, lack of journalists’ unions or effective press associations, how draconian Anti-Terror Law and articles of the Penal Code are being used to muzzle and intimidate the press, and over the creeping restrictions on the Internet. Turkey’s odyssey towards democracy will definitely not be an easy one. Despite the progress made in other fields of the society, the situation of freedom of expression and press freedom remains particularly worrying. Economic development and respect for human rights do not necessarily go hand in hand. The above-mentioned topics point to some of the contentious debates on freedom of the expression in Turkey, especially from a human rights perspective. Those obstacles damage Turkey’s international reputation and more importantly impede Turkey’s efforts to gain EU membership. On the other hand, there are also signs for optimism. Young population tends to be more digitally-literate and constantly pushes for digital activism on social media. Digitization of media content will definitely change the Turkish media landscape. The user-generated content along with wide use of mobile phones will offer a more diverse news media sector. Since the mainstream media is not one of the most trusted institutions, the young population will turn their faces to digital environment. Currently, 38 percent Turkey on the European doorstep


European Parliament Priorities for Turkey Following the Elections of the 12th of June 2012: the Need for “Uzlaşma”

of all Internet users in Turkey are between the ages of 15 and 24. Another 31 percent is between 25 and 34. It can be comfortably said that approximately 70 percent of Internet users in Turkey are young people.24 Internet users in Turkey increase exponentially each year. And as the penetration and number of users increase, the power of new media is hoped to be felt throughout the deepest corners of Turkish society. Hopefully, a new generation of dynamic, young professionals will replace the supporters of status quo in the media in the near future. Thus, for now, that seems to be the only light in the darkest painting.

24. Research Report on Youth in Turkey by KONDA, May 2011, tr/tr/raporlar.php




Turkey’s Economic Situation and the European Union

The Turkish Economy and the Development of its Financial Sector SEDAT AYBAR* Introduction It is common for economists to evaluate the real world in a way that fits measureable precepts. This is to say, economists evaluate the world and the performance of economies in technical terms. An attempt to examine the Turkish economy and the evolution of its financial sector is no exception. Despite global economic meltdown, Turkish macro-economic performance has been rather good; but an ever-growing current account deficit, domestic credit expansion, and high levels of unemployment are problematic areas. This paper investigates Turkish economic performance by focusing on problematic areas that may destabilise this performance and lead to its breakdown. Turkish Economic Performance Recently released data on the Turkish economy paints a rather optimistic picture. The Turkish GDP growth rate hit 8.8% in the second quarter of 2011, hence securing for Turkey a second place after China in the hierarchy of world economic growth rankings. As can be seen from Table 1, below, after shrinking by 4.7% in 2009, the Turkish economy has recovered, achieving a 8.9% growth rate in 2010; and, with the Central Bank’s growth estimate for 2011 raised to 6.4% from 5.9% Turkey is poised to become one of the leading countries in terms of high growth rates. (CBRT, 2011).



Associate Professor of Economics, Department of Economics, Chair Director of Centre for Middle-eastern and African Studies, Kadir Has University Fatih - Cibali - Istanbul.

EURODIALOGUE Journal of International Relations, European, Economic and Social Studies

Table 1: GDP Growth Rate, Central Bank of Republic of Turkey (CBRT)

This remarkable economic growth is actually accompanied by a deeper process of transformation in the economy, which can be best captured through looking at Turkey’s fledgling Outward Foreign Direct Investment (OFDI). It is now solidly established that Turkey has joined to the ranks of capital exporting, developing countries, alongside Brazil, Russia, India, and China. (Aybar et. al., 2010) This follows the rise in Turkey’s productive capacity, foreign trade performance, and increased competitiveness in international markets. The opening up of the Turkish economy in 1980 and the deregulation, trade liberalization, and privatization that followed led to a gradual growth in inward FDI. Inward FDI was further strengthened by the signing of a Customs Union treaty with the European Union (EU) that came into force in 1996.1 Turkish trade openness in 1980 led to an increase in Turkish exports while import dependency has become an important destabilising element. On the other hand, ever increasing inward FDI in mid-2000s helped initiate outward FDI growth. This was done by increasing Turkish firms’ competitiveness through knowledge spillovers and/or by increasing competition in the

1. The customs union agreement was restricted to industrial and processed agricultural products.

Turkey on the European doorstep


The Turkish Economy and the Development of its Financial Sector

domestic market. In the EU, Turkish firms wanted to access technology and skills while in Africa and in Asia; and they sought cost reduction by gaining access to low-cost labour markets and other inputs.2 The surge of capital exports has both domestic and international causes, but the real question relates to the sustainability of such an outward orientation and whether the policy makers, public opinion and the financial sector is prepared to shoulder such a transformation.3 For instance, in order to encourage more Turkish investment abroad, the government amended the structure of Turkish Holding Companies (HoldCo) in 2006. The new structure provides HoldCo with ‘participation gains’ in the form of an exemption from corporate tax on dividend income and gains derived from the sale of shares in foreign participation.4 Above all else, the financial sector in Turkey, assuming that it has the necessary human resources, is far from adequately channelling through necessary funds to finance the Turkish OFDI. In fact, Turkey faces several structural challenges to complete its economic transformation. The Turkish economy was caught short by the global economic meltdown with a high growth rate, increasing OFDI, a high current account deficit and a surging Public Sector Borrowing Requirement (PSBR). 2. Although the recent growth of Turkish economy enticed MNEs and SMEs to turn their attention to external markets, this sphere of economic activity has been broadly neglected by policy makers. OFDI, still seen as part of “capital flight,” and its stimulus is attached to broader diplomatic policy. As such it is perceived as an attempt that consequently “steals jobs away from the Turks.” There exists no insurance coverage for companies investing abroad. Neither there is a regular body providing information about local conditions to firms venturing abroad from the host countries. The general attitude towards the Turkish FDI, however, is gradually shifting towards a more positive stance as issues like famine in Somalia or the recent repatriation of workers from Libya receives broader public attention. 3. Turkish government measures to improve the environment for inward investment include the enactment of the new FDI Law 4875 in June 2003, which replaced the old FDI Law 6224, passed in 1954. The new law eased restrictions on inward FDI in all sectors, eliminated minimum capital requirements, granted foreign investors full convertibility in transfers of capital and earnings, allowed them to own property without restrictions, and recognized their right to international arbitration. 4. The government has also initiated a program that aims to develop trade marks in specific areas of production, ranging from textiles and food processing to electronics and the au tomotive sector. This program is known as “Turquality” and about one hundred firms are participating in it with the hope that they will achieve global competitiveness by improving their knowledge of production, industrial organization, marketing, and servicing.



EURODIALOGUE Journal of International Relations, European, Economic and Social Studies

Although the Turkish Prime Minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, initially claimed that the “crisis will tangentially pass through the country without causing major damage”, economic growth came to a halt at the end of the third quarter of 2008. Unemployment climbed to eighteen percent, while the inflation rate rose to more than 10% in 2011 - from 5.5% in 2007. Aggregate demand declined while bankruptcies of small and medium sized enterprises increased; the Turkish currency depreciated by forty percent and the stock market took a nose dive. An economic downturn in the presence of a heavy current account deficit and high level foreign debt led Turkey to negotiate her twentieth stand-by agreement with the IMF. The Turkish banking system started to show some signs of vulnerability though proving, rather curiously, more resilient than expected. In order to attract foreign capital, Turkey consistently kept the rate of interest above world equilibrium levels, and hence was able to finance its large current account deficit. Higher interest rates were accompanied by an over-valued Turkish Lira. Turkish exports slowly increased and their competitiveness in the world markets became dependent on MNC’s domestic production. Although Turkish foreign trade from 2008 to 2009 increased by 30%, import dependency has also increased. The EU’s share reached 50.4% of the total trade.

Table 2: Trade Balance, Central Bank of Republic of Turkey (CBRT)

Turkey on the European doorstep


The Turkish Economy and the Development of its Financial Sector

The recovery of the economy has been rapid, reflecting high levels in growth rates. This was partly due to a comprehensive anti-inflation program that was adopted at the beginning of 2000. The main pillars of the program were tight fiscal and monetary policies, ambitious structural reforms, and the use of a pre-determined exchange rate path as a nominal anchor. Monetary policy was conducted under a currency board type arrangement with liquidity expansion being strictly linked to foreign currency inflows. The disinflation program had a major impact on banks’ balance sheets. First and foremost, with the initial sharp decline in market interest rates and the expectation of a further fall in these rates, the banks also reduced deposit and lending rates. The banks increased their exposure to fixed rate treasury securities during this period. On the other hand, the pre-announced exchange rate path and the real appreciation of the Turkish lira meant lower cost of funding for foreign currency liabilities. As a result, a number of banks borrowed in short-term foreign currency terms and lent in longer-term Turkish lira terms. This led to a sharp increase in maturity mismatch and the foreign currency open position of the private banks. On the other hand, Turkish banks are adequately capitalized; their foreign currency and off-balance sheet risks are almost non-existent; they have relatively clean balance sheets. In retrospect, a buoyant banking sector in Turkey today is the product of important economic and financial reforms carried out after the 2001 contraction of the economy. Then the macro-economic crisis was the result of problems caused by the banking sector mismanagement. Since 2001, in order to rectify these management problems Turkey’s financial sector has undergone tremendous change. Credit decisions by banks were placed under extremely rigid controls that deterred bank managers from making the kind of casual decisions of the 1990’s. They were held personally responsible for failed and non-returned loans. Now, it seems, this rigid system has come to an end, as consumer credits have begun to expand. The expansion, however, created a rather slippery financial ground that might have endangered the inflation-targeting policies of monetary authorities. The new banking sector arrangements have created a less rigid credit expansion framework. Banks, instead of transferring ultimate savings to



EURODIALOGUE Journal of International Relations, European, Economic and Social Studies

fund investments, are heavily engaged in making what seems to be high risk consumer loans for short term profits. Domestic loan expansion can be traced on Table 3, below. Forty percent of consumer credits appear to be in the form of overdrafts. This type of banking activity also fails to provide required services for furthering OFDI in Turkey. If the banking sector is not geared up and organized to serve the long term needs of the corporate sector it would not only end up destabilizing short term economic performance, but it would also undermine the transformation of the economy.

Table 3: Banking Sector Domestic Loans, (CBRT)

There are further indicators that need scrutiny in order to establish the healthiness of the Turkish banking system. For instance, foreign direct investment has declined sharply. In the beginning of 2009 capital outflow was tremendous. Current account deficit was estimated to increase at unprecedented levels from nearly $50bn. in 2010 to nearly $70bn. in 2011, at year-end, or 8% of the GDP. The problem of sustaining high growth rates lurks throughout short term funding of the current account deficit. The financing of this deficit has become dependent on short term capital flows. For instance in 2008, the government announced a tax amnesty for Turks holding wealth abroad and promised that “no questions will be asked about the origin of their funds� if they wish to repatriate them. In two years, nearly Turkey on the European doorstep


The Turkish Economy and the Development of its Financial Sector

$9bn. poured into the country, countering the outflow of capital. However, when we look at the net errors and omissions figure, until May in 2011 the amount reached $4.5 bn (CBRT, 2011). The nature of these inflowing funds are short-term, their origins are unknown and can be highly destabilizing for Turkish banks. Government debt has been halved in comparison to 2001, while the private sector shoulders the burden of foreign debt. The central bank foreign currency reserves are in the region of $100 bn. and the balance of payments deficit is progressively declining. In order to prevent an over-heating of the economy, the Central Bank introduced reserve requirements and gradually devalued the Turkish currency. Banks’ credit expansion is funded by borrowing from the Central Bank as can be seen from Table 4 below.

Table 4: Direct Loans of the CBRT to the Banking Sector, (CBRT)

Additionally, recession within the European Union, the destination for most of the Turkish exports, is also a cause of concern for the banks. Turkish exports came to a halt at the start of 2009 despite depreciating the TL. The government and the central bank have been criticized openly for not being prepared sufficiently and for failing to take the necessary precautions to offset the dynamics of crisis sooner. The monetary authority’s response to the crisis has been discomforting since it increased liquidity while simul-



EURODIALOGUE Journal of International Relations, European, Economic and Social Studies

taneously pulling down interest rates, invoking expectations of inflation. These are all insular tendencies that would undermine the tremendous gains the Turkish banking system has made since 2001. In addition, and although banking sector reform considerably reduced the presence of the government in credit markets, adverse selection and moral hazard still play important role sin credit allocation. This concern becomes more evident when we look at project financing developments instead of consumer credits. Although the rate of inflation fell to single digits, long term project financing did not pick up. Lack of project financing in turn helped elevate the rate of unemployment. The government managed to achieve fiscal discipline as the Public Sector Borrowing Requirement (PSBR) declined. On the other hand, this could have a destabilising effect as the government becomes increasingly reluctant to use fiscal tools and relies excessively on the monetary authority. As economic growth was not providing room for dealing with high levels of unemployment, fiscal expansion signalled through announcements of government-led “crazy projects” such as building a waterway that would link the Black Sea to the Marmara Sea, on the shores of which a “new Istanbul” will be constructed. This chimes with Keynes’ famous dictum “to look after unemployment while the budget deficit looks after itself”. Some of the weaknesses highlighted above, plus a recent surge in unemployment, rapid credit expansion, and the sharp devaluation of the Turkish Lira, can potentially undermine the fast growing Turkish economy; and in the short term this might lead to a contraction. Managers of the economy and the corporate sector must keep an eye on global developments because it will be challenges to the management of the economy, dealing with most of these structural weaknesses, coming from foreign currency fluctuations in the presence of high level current account deficit and hazardous credit markets that make Turkey vulnerable to international swings. REFERENCES: Aybar S. et. al., (2010), Survey of Turkish Multinationals, Vale Center of Columbia, New York. CBRT, (2011), Financial Stability Report - May 2011, Central Bank of Republic of Turkey, Ankara.

Turkey on the European doorstep


The European Budget Post - 2013 and its Effects on EU-Turkey Relations REIMER BOEGE* Introduction Close to six years into negotiations between Turkey and the European Union (EU) regarding Turkey’s application for full EU membership, Turkey has made visible progress in many areas of Community acquis, with the added special assistance of the EU budget. Nonetheless, in view of the continuing dispute over Cyprus as well as shortcomings in the areas of religious freedom and human rights, many negotiation chapters remain deadlocked; and it is thus difficult to predict when the negotiations will come to a close. The compliance of Turkey with all 35 chapters of the Community acquis constitutes a necessary condition for EU accession, yet the European Council has declared the negotiations to be open-ended.1 As represented most prominently by France and Germany, strong reservations against Turkish EU membership persist in the Council: member states fear the impact of a big and predominantly Muslim country upon the EU. Further, these members deny the country’s European credentials. Consequently, even if the membership negotiations with Turkey were finalized, Turkey could still fall short of gaining the necessary unanimity for accession in the Council. Whereas the European Parliament is split on the issue of Turkish membership, the European Commission continues to support the eventual EU accession of Turkey and encourages further reform efforts in the candidate country while at the same time refraining from setting a target date. However, both institutions have made it clear in the context of the discussions on the next Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) 2014-2020 that they do not foresee Turkey joining the EU before 2020. *

Member of the European Parliament Committee on Budgets, Special committee on the policy challenges and budgetary resources for a sustainable European Union after 2013.

1. Presidency Conclusions of the European Council on 16/17 December 2004. Presidency Conclusions of the European Council on 16/17 December 2004.


EURODIALOGUE Journal of International Relations, European, Economic and Social Studies

Although the political situation has contributed decisively to this position, another aspect is just as important: Turkey has a big population, and that would make it the second-largest EU member state. It has, however, a weak economy, one comparable to that of Romania. This discrepancy would require that Turkey receive significant support from the EU budget. Drawing from current discussions about the EU budget post-2013, this article aims to assess, from a budgetary point of view, the implications both for the EU and Turkey in two areas: 1. in the short term until 2020 with Turkey retaining its candidate status; 2. in the medium term post-2020 with Turkey being a full member of the European Union. As negotiations for the budget post-2013 have only started, it would be presumptuous to try to quantify Turkish receipts as a candidate country during the pre-2020 period. The same holds true, even more, for the second scenario of full membership since this would have to project even farther into the future and would be nothing but idle speculation. Nevertheless, it is possible to make an educated guess as to whether the EU budget could cope with the enlargement by drawing from experiences with previous enlargements and current rules as well as with indications about the future direction in the two biggest areas of the budget, the Common Agricultural Policy and the Regional Policy. To this end, the second section of this article will give an overview of Turkey, i.e. facts and trends concerning the demography of Turkey and the economy of the country as well as the impact of each upon the EU. The third section will be dedicated to discussing the future EU budget and the role of Turkey. It will describe, in context, the EU budget support for Turkey and link it to the future until 2020 as foreseen by the European Parliament and by the European Commission. Further, some general reform trends in the EU policies will be highlighted and implications derived for potential EU membership of Turkey after 2020. The fourth and final section will draw some conclusions and make recommendations concerning future relations of the EU with Turkey.

Turkey on the European doorstep


The European Budget Post-2013 and its Effects on EU-Turkey Relations

1. Turkey now; Turkey in the future 1.1 Demographic developments With a population of 72.78 million, Turkey ranked 18th in the world in 2010. If Turkey joined the EU today, it would be the second-largest member state behind Germany. Due to the fast growth of the Turkish population and a corresponding decline in the German population, Turkey would be the largest member state after 2020. According to forecasts by the United Nations, the population of Turkey is expected to keep growing until 2050 when it will reach its peak of 91.6 million people2. After 2050, it is predicted that the population will stagnate and, later on, slowly decline. Table 1: Projections of demographic development in Turkey as compared to the EU (2010-2050)


population in million

share of the Turkish population

Turkey (TR)



EU 29 (EU27 + Croatia + TR)

EU27 + TR

EU 29






12.7 %







13.2 %







13.6 %

13.5 %






14.0 %

13.9 %






14.4 %

14.3 %






14.7 %

14.6 %






14.9 %

14.8 %






15.1 %

15.0 %






15.2 %

15.1 %

1. Projection differs slightly (by less than 1 million) from the Eurostat estimates for 2010. 2. EU27 + Croatia, as Croatia is expected to join in 2013 and Turkey is not considered able to join before 2020. Source: United Nations World Population Prospects: The 2010 Revision; own calculations. 2. Source: United Nations World Population Prospects: The 2010 Revision.



EURODIALOGUE Journal of International Relations, European, Economic and Social Studies

Although the population of the EU-27 will also keep rising until 2035, the Turkish share of the population in relation to the EU-28 will increase from 12.7% today to 15.0% in 2050.3 At a median age of 29 years4, the Turkish population is very young compared to that of the EU, where the median age is 42 years. In principle, the young population provides Turkey with a huge potential for economic growth and prosperity and spares it from the challenges related to an ageing society that many EU member states are already starting to face. Due to structural problems in the economy, however, this potential remains largely untapped. 1.2 The Turkish economy In spite of a high average annual growth rate of 4% during the past decade and an exceptionally fast recovery from its financial and economic crisis, Turkey’s economic performance today stands at only 45%5 of the EU-27 average - in other words, comparable to that of Bulgaria and Romania. If Turkey was an EU member state today, the contribution of its economy to the EU GDP in absolute terms would be marginal considering its size, at a mere 4.37%. One thing Turkey and Romania have in common is a large agricultural sector: although its share in the Turkish economy has been declining, the sector remains large in terms of employment (around 24%) while contributing only 9.3% to GDP.6 The services sector, with 50% of the total labor force, the largest employer while only 25% work in the industrial sector. Turkey has introduced a number of reforms to strengthen its service and industrial sectors and to align its policies with European standards. However, those reforms have only been partially successful as increased output has been realized either through increased productivity or, in case of increased 3. The actual share may be lower as other candidate countries besides Croatia may have joined the EU by then. However, this scenario is limited to Croatia as the negotiations have been closed. 4. Turkish statistical institute (TurkStat). 5. IMF, World Economic Outlook Database, 2011. 6. World Bank estimate for 2009, World Development Indicators.

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employment, through nominal wage cuts. Both have left the people at a disadvantage. Consequently, the employment rate remains very low at 49% and even lower for women at 27%.7 Further, unemployment is persistently high at around 11%. At 24%,8 Turkish youth is particularly affected. This is especially so because only 15.5%9 of all Turkish youth have acquired a tertiary education. A high inflation rate of around 8%10 puts additional pressure on people. According to the OECD, 49% of the population find it difficult to live on their current income and 17% are considered relatively poor.11 This applies especially to people living and working in rural areas as the economic gap between urban and rural areas is very wide. In spite of structural challenges, the Turkish economy is expected to keep growing at high rates. According to forecasts by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the Turkish GDP per capita is expected to reach 47.44% of the EU-27 level in 2016.12 Presuming a steady growth rate of 4% for Turkey and 2% for the EU beyond 2016, the Turkish economy would reach 51% of the EU-27 level in 2020. This equals the economic performance of Poland at the time of its accession in 2004. 1.3 EU-Turkey economic relations Apart from Turkey being an EU candidate country, it has been associated with the EU via a Customs Union agreement since 1995. This agreement covers all industrial goods but excludes public procurement, services, and unprocessed agricultural products. In addition, a free trade area was established in 1996 for all products covered by the European Coal and Steel Community. 7. European Commission, DG ECFIN. EU candidate and Pre-accession countries. Economic quarterly, April 2011. 8. European Commission, DG Trade 2011. 9. Eurostat. 10. European Commission, DG Trade Statistics, EU bilateral trade and trade with the world, 2011. 11. OECD (2011), Society at a Glance - OECD Social Indicators for Turkey. 12. IMF, World Economic Outlook Database, April 2011.



EURODIALOGUE Journal of International Relations, European, Economic and Social Studies

Turkey and the EU are important trade partners: in 2010, Turkey was the seventh biggest external EU trade partner. With an export volume of 61.19 billion EUR, 4.5% of its overall external trade went to Turkey while imports from Turkey worth 42.1 billion EUR accounted for 2.8% of overall imports. From the Turkish perspective, the EU is of even bigger importance since it is by far its biggest trade partner. In 2010, the overall trade amounted to 94.39 billion EUR, equaling 42% of its overall foreign trade. As regards export, with a volume of 39.79 billion EUR, the share is even higher at 46.3%.13 Machinery accounts for the biggest share of EU imports from Turkey (38%). Further, 80% of foreign direct investment in Turkey originates from the EU.

2. The future EU budget and the role of Turkey In order to grasp the impact of the proposals for the future budget on EUTurkey relations, it is necessary to have some general information about the European budget and its current support of Turkey as well as the context in which it is negotiated. Therefore, the following section will give an overview of the architecture of the EU budget, that is, its spending priorities, its financing, and its budgetary procedure. The next section will talk about EU budget assistance to Turkey. Then, the context of the negotiations on the new Multiannual Financial Framework will be elaborated upon. This section includes a brief summary of the position of the European Parliament with regard to the political priorities of the next MFF. In the following, the Commission proposal on the budget for Europe 2020 will be analyzed with a focus on instruments of interest for Turkey. Finally, presuming that Turkey joins the EU after 2020, implications will be derived from policy trends for both Turkey and the EU budget. 2.1 The architecture of the EU budget The EU budget amounts to barely more than 1% of the gross national income (GNI) of the EU, making it very small compared to its national counterparts. An investment budget, it still contributes considerably to the achievement of agreed-upon common policy targets by pooling resources, acting as a catalyst for investment, and offering economies of scale as well as spill-over effects. 13. Figures extracted from IMF (DoTS) cited in DG ECFIN, 08 June 2011.

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In the current financial period, the EU spends the bulk of its budget on sustainable growth (45.5%), financing mainly research and development as well as regional policy, and on the preservation and management of natural resources (41.3%)—i.e., common agricultural policy and environment protection measures. Only 6.2% is spent on foreign policy, including humanitarian aid, the European Neighborhood Policy, and the administrative costs related to enlargement. The amount spent on citizenship, peace, freedom and security is only marginal at 1.8%. Although the Lisbon Treaty provides that “[w]ithout prejudice to other revenue, the budget shall be financed wholly from [its] own resources� (article 311), such traditional resources, in the form of customs duties on imports from outside the EU and sugar levies, contribute only about 12.5% to the budget. Another 11.5% is levied from the value added tax revenue (VAT) of the member states. At 76%, the bulk of revenue comes from member state contributions based on their gross national income (GNI). As this system leads to imbalances regarding payments versus benefits, a number of corrective mechanisms and rebates have been introduced to compensate net payers. Unlike national budgets, the EU budget must show an equilibrium at the end of the year, that is revenues and expenditure must be in balance (art. 310 of the Lisbon Treaty). This means, on the one hand, that the EU may not go into debt; and considering the current crises in Greece, Portugal and Ireland, this requirement has proven essential. On the other hand, if the account balance is positive, the EU may not transfer funds to the next year or create a reserve for times of austerity; rather it has to refund the surplus to the Member States. When the European Parliament and the Council negotiate the concrete figures for different spending categories in the annual budget on the basis of a Commission proposal, they are bound by the ceilings set by the MFF for each different spending category. Currently, the figures are in place for the period of 2007-2013. Those ceilings importantly impact the flexibility to shift funds within the budget: if the need for additional funds emerges in one category, unused funds from another category may only be redeployed if a



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sufficient margin is left under the ceiling set by the MFF. In order to provide some additional flexibility, four so-called flexibility instruments have been created outside the budget. They can be mobilized in case of special needs. 2.2 EU assistance to Turkey under the current Multiannual Financial Framework Although Turkey is not an EU member state, it still receives funds from the EU budget. Like all (potential) candidate countries, Turkey is eligible to pre-accession funding through the Instrument for Pre-Accession. Moreover, it can draw funds from EU programs in which it participates. 2.2.1 The Instrument for Pre-Accession The most important instrument for Turkey in terms of the level of funds is the European Instrument for Pre-Accession (IPA). It was introduced with the current MFF in 2007 to replace the old pre-accession instruments14 and to link the political framework within the enlargement package with the budgetary process. Hence, the funding through IPA is in line with the strategic multiannual priorities defined by the European Commission in its broad political guidelines as well as national development plans aiming at achieving the same goals. The reasoning behind this assistance is to foster the progress of candidate countries towards compliance with, and implementation of, the Community acquis by supporting institution-building and the rule of law; human rights including the fundamental freedoms, minority rights, gender equality and non-discrimination; both administrative and economic reforms; economic and social development; reconciliation and reconstruction; and regional and cross-border cooperation.

14. From 1996-2001, the EU provided assistance through the MEDA Program. It was succeeded in 2002 by the pre-accession assistance instrument which was used until 2006.

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In order for IPA funding to be effective and coherent, its delivery concentrates on five components, each covering the needs of the beneficiary country: I.

Transition and institution-building


Cross-border cooperation with EU Member States, other candidate countries or within the framework of cross-border or inter-regional actions


Regional development aimed at preparing the country for the implementation of the cohesion policy of the Union, in particular the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and the Cohesion Fund


Human resources development aimed at preparing the country for participation in the cohesion policy and the European Social Fund


Rural development aimed at preparing the country for the common agricultural policy and related policies as well as for the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development.

The allocation of funds by country and sector has been established by the European Commission for three forthcoming years in the so-called Multiannual Indicative Financial Framework (MIFF) and is based on the objectives defined in the Multiannual Indicative Planning Documents (MIPD). The amount earmarked for Turkey in the two respective MIFFs 2008-2010 and 2011-2013 totals some 4.8 billion EUR. For the period 2011-2013, that amount will be distributed among the following 7 sectors: Justice, Home Affairs and Fundamental Rights (17%); Private Sector Development (12%); Environment and Climate Change (18%); Transport (13%); Energy (5%); Social Development (12%); Agriculture and Rural Development (23%).43

15. C(2011)4490 final. Commission Implementing Decision of 28.6.2011 adopting a Multi-annual Indicative Planning Document (MIPD) 2011-2013 for Turkey.



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Table 2: Multi-Annual Indicative Financial Framework: Breakdown of the IPA envelope for Turkey 2007-2013 into allocations by component (in million EUR)






Transition 256.7 256.1 239.6 Assistance and Institution Building



233.9 238.3 1664.5

Cross-border Co-operation





Regional Development

167.5 173.8 182.7



350.8 378.0 1782.3

Human Resources Development







Rural Development 20.7





197.8 213.0 873.8



899.5 935.5 4872.9


2007 2008



497.2 538.7 566.4







Source: European Commission, 2008

Assistance under the IPA can take several forms. In the case of Turkey, it is implemented via work and supply contracts, grants, technical assistance and twinning. Generally, the EU co-finances the projects at a rate of 75% while the Turkish side has to contribute the remaining 25%. In the case of an agreement between the Commission and the Turkish authorities, the MIFF 2011-2013 foresees the piloting of other forms of delivery such as sector wide programs or pooled financing with other donors. The management of the assistance is decentralized with the European Commission being in charge of the accreditation process and the Turkish authorities responsible for the fund management. So far, the IPA has been well received in Turkey. In the period 2007 - 2010, 137 projects offered from 70 public institutions worth 1.351 billion EUR were funded under Component I alone. Of this total amount, 928.7 million EUR came from the EU. The remaining 422.8 million EUR were contributed by Turkey. Within Component II, Turkey furthermore participates in bilateral and multilateral cross-border cooperation programs with Bulgaria and other Balkan countries. Due to the large size of Turkey and its high fund absorpTurkey on the European doorstep


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tion rate, the per capita level of assistance has been gradually increased over the period 2007 - 12. 2.2.2 Turkish participation in EU programs and further assistance.16 In addition to pre-accession assistance delivered through the IPA, Turkey benefits from several programs falling into the realm of internal EU policy. In the 2011 EU budget, close to 91 million EUR have been earmarked in EU Table 3. Funds earmarked for Turkey in EU programs in the budget 2011.

EU Program

in million EUR

Lifelong Learning Programme


Culture programme (2007 to 2013)


Youth in Action


Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme Entrepreneurship and Innovation Programme


Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme (CIP)


Customs 2013


Fiscalis 2013




Source: EU budget 2011

programs for Turkey. Other than those for the IPA, where Turkey co-finances, the EU contributes directly to these programs. In absolute terms, the majority of the funding flows into education and training as well as research, since Turkey is associate member of the Research Framework Program (RFP). However, some funds are also made available for the fight against tax fraud (Fiscalis 2013) and the support of customs administration (Customs 2013). The latter is also related to the membership of Turkey in the Customs Union. 16. The list of programs below presents the most important programs accessible to Turkey. The list does not claim to be exhaustive.



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On top of the money Turkey receives from the programs noted above, it has access to funds from the Macro-Financial Assistance Instrument (MFA) and the Instrument for Stability (IfS) in case of need. While Turkey has not made use of the first instrument over the past years, it has been involved in projects related to export controls and the prevention of illicit trafficking of Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear (CBRN) materials17 supported by the latter. In line with these measures, Turkey may apply for grants from the EU budget in relation to the common fight against fraud in the budget. 2.3 Negotiations around the new Multiannual Financial Framework (2014-2020) Halfway through the current Multiannual Financial Framework (2007-2013), the debate about the EU budget after 2013 has been well underway. With the Lisbon Treaty in force, the MFF is no longer a non-formal agreement between the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission. Rather, the agreement has been upgraded to a regulation which needs to be decided upon unanimously by the Council following the consent of the European Parliament with the majority of its members. The Lisbon Treaty states in article 312 (5) that “(t)hroughout the procedure leading to the adoption of the financial framework, the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission shall take any measure necessary to facilitate its adoptionâ€?. However, the modalities of this cooperation have not been fixed. Traditionally, negotiations between the European Parliament and the Council on budgetary matters are tough, as the views of the two arms of the budgetary authority concerning the level of the budget differ considerably: the Parliament takes a more pro-European approach, generally asking for more money, while the intergovernmental Council focuses primarily on member state contributions vis-Ă -vis returns from the budget and is thus reluctant to increase the budget. In the light of the economic and, more recently, the public debt crisis, many member state budgets are under enormous pressure. Therefore, the Council has been taking an even harder line, with the EU calling out five countries

17. COM(2009) 341 final. Annual Report from the European Commission on the Instrument for Stability 2008, Brussels, 9.7.2009.

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for a budget freeze.18 In addition, the Council has thus far been reluctant to accommodate the position of the European Parliament in budgetary issues. Hence, it is up to the European Parliament to ensure its proper involvement in the negotiations and so avoid rejecting the final outcome of the negotiations on the MFF as a last resort. The own initiative report “A new Multiannual Financial Framework for a competitive, sustainable and inclusive Europe” can be seen as a means to this end. In the resolution prepared by the special committee on political challenges (SURE), the European Parliament defines its political priorities both in legislative and budgetary terms. Further, it provides a blueprint as to how the budget post-2013 might, or should, look like. The report was adopted on 8 June 2011, three weeks before the Commission presented its legislative proposal for the new MFF regulation. Taking account of the structural challenges of the member states related inter alia to high levels of public debt and large fiscal deficits, the Parliament therein demands that the budget be, more than ever, guided by the principles of European Added Value and sound financial management. In this context, the Parliament calls for the efficiency of the budget to be increased and synergy potentials - e.g., through the avoidance of duplicated spending, the abolition of double structures at both EU and national levels and a better coordination of national budgets with the future EU budget. However, it also identifies a number of future challenges such as demography, climate change and energy supply, which required common action rather than national measures and therefore have to be financed through the EU budget. Further, the Parliament reiterates the additional financing need deriving from, • the tasks conferred upon the EU by the Lisbon Treaty; • the headline targets set out by the EU 2020 strategy in the areas of employment, education, research and development, energy and climate as well as poverty reduction;

18. Joint letter of 17 December 2011 by the Heads of State and Government of the United Kingdom, Germany, France, the Netherlands and Finland to Commission President Manuel Barroso.



EURODIALOGUE Journal of International Relations, European, Economic and Social Studies

• necessary infrastructure investments; • political agreements by the Council on large-scale projects such as ITER and Galileo; • necessary appropriations in the field of Common Foreign and Security, including the External Action Service and the European Neighborhood Policy; • international commitments such as the Millennium Development goal of giving 0.7% of the EU-GNI as development aid; • the financing of the European Financial Stabilization Mechanism and the European Stability Mechanism after 2013. The Parliament stresses the role of the European Regional and Common Agricultural Policy in tackling those challenges and therefore stresses that the funding level of 2013 needs to be at least maintained for the two policy areas. With a view to enlargement, Parliament only takes note of “a new round of enlargement, particularly in the direction of the Western Balkans” which indirectly excludes Turkey. However, it demands sufficient funding for the IPA instrument as well as facilitated access to EU funding and stresses its contribution to improvements leading to the compliance of candidate countries with the Community acquis as well as calling for facilitated use of funding. While the report does not provide an estimate of an overall figure for the resources needed, it clearly shows that it would transcend the current budget by far, irrespective of realizable savings. Taking into account the difficult situation in many member states, the Parliament therefore asked for the 2013 level of the budget to be increased by at least 5% in the next period to 1.11% of GNI in order to finance the most pressing needs. Otherwise, the Council must identify priorities for cutting back. In order to gain greater budgetary leeway, the Parliament has further asked for more flexibility within the budget. According to the Parliament, the budget increase should be accompanied by a substantial reform of the revenue system with the goal of making it

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autonomous, more fair, more transparent and more simple. This entailed the introduction of one or more genuine individual resources to replace the current GNI-based system and its manifold rebates, exceptions and correction mechanisms. This “own-initiative� report may not have any legislative consequences but it has made an important fact clear, one to be bore in mind in the upcoming negotiations: even without further enlargement that might come along with additional financing needs, the capacity limits of the EU budget in its current form have been reached if not exceeded. 2.4 Budgetary implications for Turkey from the Commission proposal on the future budget In its Communication on the Budget for Europe 2020 [COM(2011)500], the European Commission in effect calls for a budget freeze. While it claims to have followed the call of the European Parliament for an increase of the overall level to 1.11%, this number has only been reached by adding together the foreseen commitments inside and outside the MFF while the amounts outside the MFF are counted as extra. The proposal of the Commission does not foresee the accession of Turkey to the EU. It does, however, present some proposals with regard to policies affecting Turkey as an enlargement country. Given that the Commission proposals only form the basis for the discussions in the Council and the Parliament, the final regulation is likely to differ considerably from the proposal in some areas, particularly in terms of the figures. Nevertheless, the proposals describe the general trend and give an indication of policy priorities. Consequently, the following will give a short overview of the proposals with an impact on Turkey while avoiding going into details (including figures). Then, some general remarks will be made with regard to the state of discussion in the areas of Common Agricultural and Regional Policy as they would be of great interest for Turkey as a member state. 2.4.1 Plans regarding instruments accruing to Turkey as a candidate country Unlike other policy areas in which the Commission wants to reprioritize or cut, the instruments concerning candidate countries should be maintained



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or even increased. Although the scope of available instruments for candidate countries is slightly extended, the main focus is on optimizing the existing instruments with respect to efficiency and simplicity. According to the Commission, all pre-accession related spending, i.e., those including internal policies and thematic issues, should be streamlined into one integrated pre-accession instrument.19 While the emphasis of support remains on the adoption of the Community acquis as well as upon socio-economic development and regional cooperation, the new instrument should more strongly reflect the structural funds, the Cohesion Fund and the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) whose focus, in turn, should be shifted towards the delivery of public goods. In this context, the financial support of the environmental infrastructure and capacity building in candidate countries should also play a bigger role. Considering that currently almost a quarter of the funds of the Instrument for Pre-Accession (IPA) is allocated to the Agriculture and Rural Development sector, this could lead to a shift towards environment and climate change measures. These currently receive 18% of the funds. In this way, Turkey could be given incentive to take further action in areas where it has so far performed poorly.20 In line with the EU 2020 targets, the European Commission wants to step up the funding for all formal, as well as informal, levels of education and training. This includes the development of a special program providing guarantees for mobile master students. As Turkey takes part in the Lifelong Learning program as well as other programs related to education, it would also profit from the increase of funds. Another Europe 2020 target that the Commission refers to is that of investing 3% of GDP into research and development. While this target can only be attained by attracting private investment and contributions from other levels, the Commission still plans to significantly extend funding in this area - both in total amounts and as a share of budget. This could be accomplished, for 19. Currently, the budget title on enlargement contains only the administration costs of the IPA while the earmarked funds for the different sectors are subsumed under the relevant headings, for example, regional or agricultural policy. 20. COM(2010) 660 final: Communication from the Commission to the Parliament and the Council: Enlargement Strategy and Main Challenges 2010-2011, 9.11.2010.

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example, by mainstreaming research into other policy areas. Considering the increased participation of Turkey in the European Research Area and in programs of the European Research Framework Program, opportunities could arise - bearing in mind the necessity of co-financing - especially for Turkish businesses to further engage in research cooperation with European partners; and this would thereby trigger economic development in the country. The Instruments for Stability and Macro-Financial Assistance should, according to the Commission, stay available to candidate countries, hence also to Turkey. In the field of justice, the scope of programs accessible to candidate countries should be widened. The Commission wants to streamline programs dealing with cross-border cooperation on enforcement, on information, and on raising public awareness, training for professionals and the strengthening of networks; these should be incorporated into two streamlined programs and be made available to candidate countries wherever possible. A new instrument which might offer funding opportunities for Turkey is the Connecting Europe Facility, or Infrastructure Fund. The Commission intends to create this instrument to contribute to those financing of priority infrastructure projects in the fields of energy, transport, and digital networks which prove important for the completion of a European single market, the fulfilment of EU 2020 strategy as well as the European climate change and energy targets. For infrastructure projects of European interest passing through neighboring and pre-accession countries, the Commission intends to propose simplified means to link and finance them through the new fund. Among the pre-identified projects, one is of relevance for Turkey: the Southern Gas Corridor, linking Europe to the Gas supplies of the Caspian Sea and Middle East Basin. 2.5 Trends in EU policy and their implications for Turkey as a member state post 2020 In the economic realm, the Copenhagen accession criteria require a functioning market economy which is competitive within the EU. They do not set



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any benchmarks as regards economic performance in relation to the EU. The Commission already has certified Turkey as a functioning market economy; and, provided that it continues its comprehensive structural reform program, the EU expects the country to withstand the competition pressures in the EU in the medium term.21 Presuming that political disputes are resolved and the Council approves, Turkey might therefore join the EU after 2020. Although reliable estimates concerning economic performance or structures cannot be given this far in advance, it is nevertheless certain that Turkey will still be poor compared to the rest of the EU. The agricultural sector, while smaller than today, will still be big and labor-intensive. Regional disparities are also likely to persist. While this was and still is also the case for most East European member states, the impact on the budget in the case of Turkey is a different one as a much higher amount of funding is needed to have a visible impact on a large country. Territorial cohesion and thus solidarity with the poorer and weaker regions is an EU goal codified by the Lisbon Treaty. Traditionally, measures aimed at generating growth in the regions have been funded via the structural funds. With a GDP far below 90% of the EU average, Turkey would be eligible for funding from the Cohesion Fund. Further, its regions would fall into the highest support category for regions with a GDP below 75%, i.e., the current Convergence Objective. In addition, the Turkish agricultural sector would be entitled to significant support via the Common Agricultural Policy to ensure a decent income for the farmers and to support the development of rural areas. However, considering the trends in those policy areas, several factors would limit support. First and foremost, the amount earmarked for cohesion and agricultural policy in the MFF will be too low to cater to the needs of both Turkey and the regions in other member states. In line with the commit-

21. COM(2010) 660 final: Communication from the Commission to the Parliament and the Council: Enlargement Strategy and Main Challenges 2010-2011, 9.11.2010.

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ment of the Commission to the EU 2020 strategy, research and innovation funding will receive higher funding at the relative cost of both the agricultural and the cohesion policy whose share in the budget will further decline. Although Turkey is already participating in EU research programs as a candidate country, the level of investment for research and development at 0.85% of GDP22 is less than half as high as the EU-27 average. Therefore, it will still take considerable time for Turkey to dispose of the research infrastructure and benefit from those programs. In addition to the research infrastructure, investments will also be necessary for other infrastructure projects in order to increase the international competitiveness of Turkey. In addition to the structural funds, they could be delivered from the Infrastructure Fund which the Commission envisages. With the accession of a large but weak country, the GDP average of the EU would decrease. Therefore, the statistical effect of making poor regions relatively richer would be considerable because the affected regions would no longer be found in the old member states such as Germany or Spain but in Eastern Europe. Even without Turkey, it has been difficult to find transitional measures to compensate the affected regions for their losses (resulting from the statistical effect.) Finding a solution with many of the additional regions concerned will be even more difficult. Apart from the fact that it is highly disputed and may not be realized, the intermediate category foreseen by the Commission to support regions with a GDP between 75 and 90% would also prove too costly. Apart from the (relatively) stronger regions which would no longer be eligible for the highest funding, the accession of Turkey would also have an effect on the weakest regions that remained in the same category as the Turkish ones, for there would be competition for funds. Of course, the funding cap which the Commission proposes to lower from 4% to 2.5% of GNI should limit the funding to one country. However, because of the size of Turkey, this would still add up to a significant amount. Related to the funding cap is the issue of fund absorption: many countries in Eastern Europe have not made use of their funds because they do not have the means to co-finance 22. Eurostat estimate for 2010.



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projects supported via those structural funds. As a candidate country, Turkey has shown a greater absorption rate and may therefore not be affected. Although the Common Agricultural Policy will continue to play an important role in the EU budget, several adaptations are foreseen which should make it more sustainable and competitive. One of the main targets of the upcoming reform of the Common Agricultural Policy is to distribute support in a fairer and more equitable manner. To this end, the direct payments per hectare across the member states will be gradually merged. As this convergence is to be financed by the countries which currently receive payments above the average, the Commission expects convergence to a 90% level to take three financial periods. With Turkey being part of the EU, this convergence is to take even longer because of the huge size of the agricultural sector with its low productivity level and its many small farms. Another strand of the reform is a stronger focus on sustainability and environmentally friendly farming. To this end, the Commission intends to introduce conditionality beyond the existing cross-compliance measures via a “greening component.� This means that the granting of a certain share of EU funds should be made conditional upon compliance with sustainability and environmental criteria. Considering the poor performance of the Turkish agricultural sector in this realm, this measure would pose a huge challenge for Turkey as it would entail large costs for compliance. Although some pilot projects have been initiated already to make the Turkish authorities acquainted with the implementation of EU programs, the Turkish authorities would require a huge capacity upgrade. Although only the most important policy areas have been covered, the implications of EU policy trends for Turkey and the EU become clear: in order to catch up to the EU average, Turkey would require significant support from the EU budget in absolute terms because of its size. Admittedly, experience with previous enlargements shows that EU membership has an accelerating effect on the economic development in the new member state as well as on labor productivity and that this, in turn, slows down inflation. Nonetheless, the catching-up process, for example, for Poland (whose economic

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performance in relation to the EU at the time of accession resembled that of Turkey in about 10 years) is expected to take over 30 years.23 Conclusion The analysis of the current situation and the prospective development of Turkey as well as the current state of discussion of the EU budget 2014-2020 suggest a number of conclusions: first, for Turkey as a candidate country, little is going to change in terms of financial support until 2020. Except for slight adaptations to content and delivery, the policy instruments aiming to support Turkey on its way to EU membership are expected to stay as they are. The amount foreseen by the Commission is neither significantly higher than the current financial picture nor lower. Second, from a budgetary perspective, even under the most favorable conditions - steadily high economic growth rates, successful structural reforms by the Turkish government and a moderate increase of the EU budget - the enlargement-related costs would be very high for both sides: on the side of the EU, the direct costs related to support of Turkey alone would exceed current budgetary levels. As special phasing-in provisions used in other enlargements to ease the burden on the budget do not appear viable, the only way to cope with the costs would be to cut priority areas in the costs for all other regions and thus, to the detriment of the EU as a whole. On the other hand, the effect of EU funding for Turkey would at best be marginal in relation to the cost of compliance with EU standards, particularly with regard to program implementation and environment standards. Considering the burden the accession of Turkey would put on the budgets of both the EU and Turkey, the advantages of enlargement do not outweigh the disadvantages. Therefore, from a budgetary point of view, the eventual rejection of membership would be in the interest of both parties.

23. Speech of Commissioner Stefan F端le during the plenary debate on the Progress Report of Turkey 2010 on 08 March 2011 in the European Parliament in Strasbourg.



EURODIALOGUE Journal of International Relations, European, Economic and Social Studies

Nonetheless, the Commissioner for Enlargement and Neighborhood Policy, Stefan Füle, is right in pointing out that “Turkey needs the European Union and the European Union needs Turkey.”24 Be it for economic, geostrategic or security considerations, it is in the interest of the EU to retain good relations with Turkey and support it on its way to prosperity. However, good neighborly relations also entail a high degree of honesty. When stating that Turkey is not yet ready for EU membership because of a number of persisting challenges, the EU Commission is certainly right. However, it also hides behind these arguments by giving Turkey the feeling that its accession only hinges on compliance with Community acquis, thereby ignoring the important criterion, stressed by the European Council, of the EU’s capacity to integrate new members.25 If the EU grows to be too large, it will lose strength as taking decisions and speaking with one voice both internally and internationally will become increasingly difficult. As the recent discussions concerning how to proceed with regard to Libya or with Greece and other EU member states affected by the crisis have shown, this is already now the case. The EU is in desperately in need of consolidation. In this regard, the foreseen enlargement to Croatia appears contradictory. Yet, the Balkan country is quite small and will therefore not be a pivotal player in EU politics. Turkey, on the other hand, due to its size would be entitled to a large number of Members of the European Parliament as well as votes in the Council; and in this way, it could block more than three quarters of EU legislation. While candidate status appears to be a good incentive for Turkey to align its policies with European standards and thus become more competitive, it is by nature tentative. Consequently, the EU will have to offer a positive vision on how to proceed with Turkey if it does not join the EU. One way to deal with Turkey would be by means of a “privileged partnership” as favored by the German government. This would entail the extension of the customs

24. “The EU Enlargement and Economic Growth. In the CEE New Member Countries”, Economic Papers 367, March 2009. 25. Presidency Conclusions of the Brussels European Council on 14/15 December 2006.

Turkey on the European doorstep


The European Budget Post-2013 and its Effects on EU-Turkey Relations

union to a comprehensive free trade zone, the increase of EU aid programs, the intensification of cooperation with Turkish authorities and institutions in the area of internal policy and justice to fight terrorism, extremism and organized crime, as well as deeper cooperation regarding civil society and environmental protection matters without putting additional pressure on the EU budget. Naturally, such an agreement would still require efforts on the side of Turkey to comply with Community acquis.




Power Games and Turkish Membership

Turkey-EU Relations, Problems and Prospects ONUR OYMEN* Main problems of Europe and Turkey today and in the near future Europe One of the basic problems that Europe faces is a decline in international competitiveness. Compared to other groups of nations, Europe is gradually losing its competitiveness in the world and its share in the world economy. BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India, and China) countries are making tremendous progress in terms of their respective gross national products; and some of them have already positioned themselves better in this respect than leading western democracies. A few years ago UNICE, an institution which represents the views of Europe’s private sector, made a comparative study between the European Union, US and Japan. The results show that in a number of areas, particularly those related to technology, technology-based production, the utilization of the internet, and in a number of similar areas, Europe is lagging behind the US and Japan. A few figures:



In terms of standard of living, the US has 100 points, Japan has 90, and, overall, the EU 70.

In the EU the cost of energy is 47%; road transportation, 40%; internet connection, 200%; and the cost of international telephone calls are 300% more expensive than in the US.

The ratio of R&D expenditures in the GNP is lower in Europe than in the US and Japan.

The number of computers per person is two times higher in the US than in the EU.

Ambassador, Former Deputy in the Turkish Grand National Assembly.

EURODIALOGUE Journal of International Relations, European, Economic and Social Studies

Public expenditure in a number of EU countries are about the half of GDP whereas this figure is about 1/3 of that in the US and Japan,

Taxes and social security premiums are much higher in the EU than in Japan.

The proportion of taxes and social security contributions made from the salaries of EU citizens is about 57%, whereas in the US this figure is 37% and in Japan 33%.

The share of employment in the public sector is 18% in Europe 8.3% in Japan and 15.7% in Japan.

UNICE noted that these figures demonstrate that even for larger European companies, competition with the U.S. and Japan was becoming more and more difficult, although there were some improvements in European standards in these areas. Still, the EU is not ahead of these two countries in most of these areas. Further, the economic growth in 1980-2008 period reached 2.2% in the European Union, 2.3% Japan, 2.9% in the United States. It reached 6.3% in newly industrialised economies. Recent studies show remarkable progress in China and India. Obviously the centre of gravity of the world economy is shifting from the West towards the East. Add to the list of BRIC countries others like Korea, Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia; and clearly underscores the fact that an economic power centre is growing in the East. In the areas of defence and security - and despite some promising initiatives and expectations - the European Union’s defense system is far from reaching a level comparable to American military power. In the area of military expense - overall nuclear and conventional capabilities, defense related investments and research - America is well ahead of all European countries combined. European countries have profited from the peace dividend that realized after the end of the Cold War and are reluctant to increase their share of military expenditures; indeed, in the foreseeable future nobody

Turkey on the European doorstep


Turkey-EU Relations, Problems and Prospects

expects EU to replace NATO or to compete with Americans in defense related areas. In terms of caring for its citizens, Europe’s burden is growing; and governments have an increasingly difficult time coping with this. In some countries like Germany, the state has recently had to reduce its contributions to the social security system. Consequently the financial contributions of individual citizens have increased. The unemployment rate in Europe as of last October reached 10.1% and this figure is at its highest level since July of 1998. According to Eurostat, the number of European citizens who do not have jobs rose by 80,000 to 15.95 million people. In fact, to maintain a balance between workers and retirees Europe needs a large number of migrant workers. Europe also has financial problems. The recent economic crisis in Greece has reached alarming dimensions. Leading European personalities like Prime Minister Junkers, referring to the financial crisis in Greece, talk about runaway risks to the system. The excessive financial contributions required from rich EU countries or banks to compensate for the deficit created by ailing European economies also generates serious financial problems elsewhere. This situation has led to some thought about a possible review of the existing financial systems in Europe. Some leaders like Chancellor Merkel even question whether Europe should reconsider some provisions of the Lisbon Treaty. In terms of foreign policy, though some steps have been taken in the Lisbon Summit towards creating a better institutional framework for responding to foreign policy concerns, it is still too early to speak about a unified European position on various international problems and crises. This picture is not a promising prospect for Europe. Of course one should not underestimate the achievements of the Union or of the concrete benefits provided European citizens. Obviously the EU will remain an irreversible project that has led to the preservation of human rights and which has helped foster the democratic aspirations of many peoples of the world. The sense of solidarity and mutual dependence will continue to shape the fu-



EURODIALOGUE Journal of International Relations, European, Economic and Social Studies

ture of European countries. Despite a relative decline, compared to other economic power centres, Europe will continue to be one of the most important economic forces in the world. That is why a number of European nations, including Turkey, still wish to join the EU. Turkey Turkey has made tremendous progress economically, educationally, technologically, industrially, and in terms of defense. However, a number of serious problems persist. Most importantly, Turkey evidences some shortcomings in terms of its democracy. In general our democratic standards today are not at the level we deserve; in the last decade, they have even declined in terms of freedom of the press and gender equality. If you look at the findings of several, reliable international organizations and think tanks, Turkey ranks below a number of Western democracies. There is a lively discussion going on in Turkey regarding the need for further democratization and the need for the preparation of a new constitution. Fifty-seven journalists are currently in jail, together with professors, party leaders, officers, military officers, lawyers and intellectuals. All are awaiting sentencing from trials that were initiated as far back as four years ago. Although the ruling party won a clear majority in the elections of 12 June, garnering about half of the votes, many people in Turkey question the election process, as we still have a 10% threshold. Economically, Turkey has recovered from the setbacks of the international crisis to a large extent and has continued to increase its gross national product for the last six quarters. The rate of its growth is among the highest in the G-20 countries. Still we continue to suffer from high unemployment (more than ten per cent.) There are reports from international media about an “overheatingâ€? of the Turkish economy. In terms of the population, Turkey has a serious problem vis Ă vis income distribution among its citizens as well as income distribution by region. Life expectancy in different parts of the country varies substantially. The informal economy is yet another problem. We continue to face attacks from terrorist organizations based in Northern Iraq.

Turkey on the European doorstep


Turkey-EU Relations, Problems and Prospects

Turkish people support Arab Spring and sympathize with those who are fighting for freedom and democracy; but, obviously, the uprising and confrontations in our own region create security risks for Turkey. Further, we have unresolved problems with our neighbours--the Cyprus problem comes to mind, as does the Armenian issue, and the security situation in the Caucasus, especially after the suspension CFE Treaty. Our membership negotiations with the EU are stagnating. We started the negotiating process with the EU six years ago at the same time as Croatia, which has practically finished its negotiations and expects to join the EU family in 2013. Turkey was able to open so far only 13 chapters out of 35. The EU Council and some individual members have blocked 18 chapters. One country alone, France, has blocked five chapters, claiming that these may lead to full Turkish membership. In short, Turkey has achieved much, made much progress, and has made both tremendous progress while continuing to have some serious problems. The question is whether Turkish membership to the EU would ease European –Turkish relations, or strain them. The EU President, Prime Minister Olmert of Hungary, has said during the COSAC meeting held in Budapest at the end of May, that the only way to regain European competitiveness is to continue the enlargement of the Union. At that time, this author asked if there was not a contradiction between affirming this and, at the same time, blocking Turkish membership - a membership that would contribute to the competitiveness of Europe even more than other candidates thanks to its economic power and potential:


A young, dynamic, and well-educated Turkish work force might also positively contribute to the solution of some social problems in Europe; for example, the impact of an aging population on its economy.

Turkey’s military power will certainly contribute to the building of a robust European army.


EURODIALOGUE Journal of International Relations, European, Economic and Social Studies

In foreign policy Turkey’s special relations with the countries of the Middle East, the Caucasus, the Balkans and Central Asia might add new dimensions to European foreign policy.

Turkey has become an energy hub between the oil and gas producing countries of the region and Europe at a time when the need for energy is constantly growing.

In view of all this, it seems conclusive that Turkish membership will bring more good than harm to Europe. If Turkey and the EU considers what they on can do together, a different picture and a more positive perspective for their common future must emerge. Obviously particular problems - the Cyprus issue and the Armenian question - require special attention. More time and energy will need to be spent to these problems. However, if the larger picture is ignored and mutual benefits are overlooked; and if the prospects for membership are made hostage to smaller and issues, all may be the losers. If EU membership is used as leverage against Turkey to get unilateral concessions on some issues, I suspect that the results obtained would not be much different from what has been achieved so far: no Turkish government will be ready to make unilateral concessions. If some countries aim to block Turkish membership for other reasons; and if they use these individual issues as excuses to delay the membership process of Turkey, there will be no winners in this political game. It appears that two main problems worry some of Turkey’s European friends: first, Turkey will join Europe as a major country and that will affect the balance of power among larger members. Because voting rights in the European Council are determined according to the population of member countries, Turkey will rank right after Germany’s share (9.55%.) That is to say, Turkey’s share would be around 9% of total EU votes, whereas France has 8.11%, UK 8%, Italy 7.95%, Greece 3.49% and Cyprus, 0.98%. In the European Parliament with increased powers, the Turkish delegation will be second in size right after Germany.

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Turkey-EU Relations, Problems and Prospects

Second, the EU must provide a substantial economic contribution to Turkey. According to a report prepared a few years ago, the yearly net contribution of the EU to Turkey would be around 11 billion EUR, 8.5 billion of which would go to agriculture. Since major budget increases are not currently permitted by the Union, the benefits of some member countries would need to be cut to offer Turkey this kind of contribution; and this is a real issue that needs to be discussed with courage and frankness. However, to keep Turkey for such a long time at the doorsteps of Europe might also exact an important economic and political price. Therefore, member countries might want to take a serious and well-thought-out look at their decision, bearing in mind long term interests. This author’s opinion is that if the Europe’s were alive today, they would probably decide to accelerate the Turkish membership process. History is full of missed opportunities; and hopefully, future historians will not refer to the Turkish membership process as another missed opportunity. Hopefully Turkey’s European friends will not ask themselves, who lost Turkey?



European Integration and the Turkish Dilemma ANDREAS THEOFANOUS* Despite the fact that it has been over five years since the EU and Turkey started accession negotiations, the process and the goal itself remain an issue of intense debate and controversy across Europe. With the most serious of the negotiation’s chapters blocked by the EU, the prospect of Turkey’s accession is uncertain. Turkey considers accession to the EU as a strategic objective; yet it does not appear that Ankara fully appreciates what is required of the country in order to become a member of the EU. It persistently pursues an a la carte policy in relation to several challenges that it has to address (such as respect for basic freedoms, the Cyprus problem, the Kurdish issue, and the role of the army among others). Within the framework of trying to define the future of relations between the EU and Turkey a number of issues must be addressed: (a)

the wider debate regarding the kind of Europe that existing members would like to see;


philosophical approaches in relation to Turkey’s potential accession;


the practical problems to be faced in relation to Turkey’s accession process.

In this context, key questions will be raised as to the extent to which the problems encountered, as well as the intense debate surrounding them, threaten to derail this country’s accession course. The broader philosophical debate in relation to the future of Europe and Turkey’s commitments will also be assessed.


Professor of Political Economy, University of Nicosia. President, Cyprus Centre for European and International Affairs.


European Integration and the Turkish Dilemma

I. What Kind of Europe? Which Europe? Three possible scenarios for future integration Different perspectives among member states over the shape and direction of Europe are commonplace, as the Union today faces both economic as well as political dilemmas in relation to its future. Within the EU, as well as among various national political groups, three possible scenarios are currently being contemplated:



The first school of thought believes in an ever-deepening integration process that would further strengthen the structure and institutions of the Union. This camp would like to see a more efficient, more effective and democratic organisation, which would be in a position to bridge its deficits. (In this context it is stressed that the EU should have an enhanced international role.) This scenario would promote a more integrated system of governance within a Union that would also be able to determine its own common foreign security and defense policies. This prospect may very well lead to a federal union fostering greater solidarity among its member states and their citizens. The possibility of even gaining a voice in the UN Security Council could further elevate the Union’s international position.) The greatest challenge for the proponents of this school is in fact whether the current economic crisis, in particular the fate of the Eurozone, will be resolved in a way that would necessitate and include a fiscal union.


The second school of thought mostly reflects British perspectives. This emphasizes an even more enlarged EU, which would include Turkey, the Balkan countries, as well as former Soviet states such as Ukraine and Georgia. This Atlanticist vision centers on the idea of an enlarged economic union with loose political relations among the member states. The latter would thus be in a position to opt in or out of policy areas. As far as foreign, security and defence policies are concerned, this group pays particular attention to the role of Washington and NATO.


EURODIALOGUE Journal of International Relations, European, Economic and Social Studies


The third school of thought revolves around the scenario of a multispeed Europe. At the core of this new Europe would be the countries wishing to form a politically united Europe, while the rest would en gage in various forms of cooperation. The idea of countries integrating at different levels could be a plausible scenario, as variable geometry might allow countries like Turkey to join the EU’s ranks. It should be noted that although this model was not seriously considered until now, in actual fact the today’s reality is that the EU does not actually move in a uniform manner.

It is important for the EU to be able to define and articulate its current vision and pursue it successfully, while overcoming important controversies among its members regarding the course and shape of future integration.

II. The Challenge of Enlargement and the Case of Turkey EU Enlargement and Turkey: Understanding the key issues and debates In relation to Turkey, the situation is complicated by a number of issues: these include the size of its population and its socioeconomic structure, the Kurdish problem, the Cyprus question, media freedom, religious rights, the military’s role,and so on. The process has so far moved at a very slow pace, often reaching points of stagnation. Despite the fact that Turkey has been a candidate country for EU membership since 1999 (Helsinki European Council), accession negotiations were not launcheduntil October 2005, following the screening process. At the same time Turkey’s failure to implement the Additional Protocol to the Ankara Agreement with respect to the Republic of Cyprus, led to the Council decision in December 2006 that eight relevant chapters of the acquis (Free Movement of Goods, Right of Establishment and Freedom to Provide Services, Financial Services, Agriculture and Rural Development, Fisheries, Transport Policy, Customs Union, and External Relations) would not open for Turkey, while no chapter would be provisionally closed until Turkey fulfils its commitment and opens its ports and airports to ships and planes from the Republic of Cyprus. One of the most important chapters, that of Energy, which could carry significant benefits both for Turkey and the EU

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European Integration and the Turkish Dilemma

has been all but frozen as Turkey (among other things) questions the sovereign right of the Republic of Cyprus to exploit its recently discovered natural gas reserves. More recent provocations further complicate Turkey’s position and raise questions among even the most fervent supporters of its accession. Overall, since October 2005, the EU has provisionally closed only one chapter and opened negotiations on another 12 chapters. Philosophical approaches to Turkey’s potential EU accession There are arguably three philosophical approaches in relation to the potential accession of Turkey to the EU. These can be summarized as follows:



The accession of Turkey to the EU could contribute to a better under standing between the West and the Islamic world. This could also facilitate the integration of Moslem communities and immigrants into European societies. Furthermore, it could ease tensions between East and West, and contribute to the economic and demographic rejuvenation of the EU. Besides, it is argued, there have been promises and commitments to Turkey which cannot be revoked.


Turkey does not really belong to Europe, either politically or culturally. If Turkey accedes to the EU it could seriously challenge the identity of the Union and may compromise its ambitions, as well as its political culture and the prospects for its political integration. The EU, this argument maintains, cannot absorb Turkey and that even if it forces this prospect further deepening and integration, is likely to be frustrated.


It is more important to keep Turkey on the track of further modernization and Europeanization. The challenging question of whether Turkey should become a member of the EU does not have to be addressed at this instant. The possibility of the Turkish accession should be kept open. However, if Turkey fulfils the necessary criteria it would be unfair to keep this country out. If it does not, then it would be unwise to adopt a shorter yardstick in order to make Turkey a member. Under these conditions a special privileged relationship could be discussed.


EURODIALOGUE Journal of International Relations, European, Economic and Social Studies

Unquestionably, these challenges involving the future of Europe and Turkey preoccupy politicians, academics, and policy analysts, as well as the mass media and public opinion at large. It will take some time before a clear and definite path is charted. Clearly, the EU finds itself today in a very difficult situation: on the one hand, there are principles and norms that cannot be violated, and on the other, there are serious issues at stake vis-Ă -vis Turkey that have to be addressed conclusively and effectively.

III. Current Developments Inevitably this discussion is influenced by several important developments which have their own impact and influence. Within this framework it is essential to fully assess the multiple challenges that the EU is currently facing. This includes the international economic crisis and its broader repercussions. Much attention is also given to the debt crisis in the Eurozone, the future of the Euro, and the debate revolving around structural economic reforms. Furthermore, the EU has to address security issues, energy policy options, demographic and immigration challenges, as well as neighbourhood policies, succinctly and effectively. Above all, though, the EU has to revive a convincing vision for the future. On its part, Turkey is striving to achieve multiple objectives and to balance particular conflicting goals. In addition to its efforts to emerge as a regional power, it is trying to promote its European accession process while at the same time trying to avoiddealing with obligations which are an outcome of this process and of a European value system. In this regard, the Kurdish issue as well as minority issues in general constitute important themes. Furthermore, the Cyprus question presents another thorny issue: not only the occupation of the northern part of Cyprus, but the issue of respect and recognition of all member states of the Union are key here. Indeed, a country which does not recognize all members of the Union and also pursues the Union’s value system cannot really expect to have a normal accession process. Turkey also must address historical and political issues with both symbolic and substantive dimensions (e.g., the issue of the Armenian genocide).

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European Integration and the Turkish Dilemma

Above all there two major issues that have to be addressed: •

Are Turkish identity and Turkish values compatible with full membership in the EU?

Which Turkey will accede and what will the EU be like when it does. In this regard it is important to assess different scenarios in relation to these changes.

In relation to Cyprus it is essential to recall that Turkey does not recognize the right of the Republic of Cyprus to exist. Furthermore we should mention the issue of the settlers, the occupation troops, the exploitation of Greek Cypriot properties, the destruction of Greek cultural heritage in occupied Cyprus. Also indicative of the problem is the recentTurkish Ministry of Education decision that Turkish Cypriots who study in high schools, colleges and Universities in the Republic of Cyprus will not be accepted at Turkish Universities. More recently there were press reports that the free movement of capital is also being violated. Moreover, the recent crisis in the Eastern Mediterranean and Ankara’s stance in relation to Cyprus’ exploration rights in its exclusive economic zone is indicative of an assertive and revisionist stance. The challenges for Turkey today The Cyprus question remains a serious obstacle to Turkey’s accession. Not only doesTurkey not recognize the Republic of Cyprus; but it continues to occupy, since the summer of 1974, almost 40 per cent of its territory. Even though (with the reserved consent of Cyprus), the EU started accession negotiations with Turkey in October 2005, Ankara still seems to be reluctant to implement even the minimal obligations undertaken in relation to Cyprus (and by extension the EU), which derive specifically from the Ankara Protocol and from European political culture in general. This behavior may be indicative of attitudes in Turkey – attitudes that seem to address these obligations in an a la carte manner and which do not bode well for how Turkey will operate once it joins the Union. Perhaps the strong support that Turkey has been receiving from various countries has encouraged this policy pattern. Nevertheless, as already mentioned earlier, in December 2006 the European Council froze eight negotiation chapters for Turkey. 76


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Apart from Cyprus, however, there are several other challenges that Turkey has to address. These include additional reforms for a modern legal framework, economic transformation, the Kurdish issue, claims in the Aegean, religious rights, dealing with the Armenian genocide, the alleged ‘re-islamization’ of the state under the Erdogan government, the role of the army, women’s rights, media freedom, and, more generally, respect for basic freedoms. All these issues entail elements for which several EU countries, such as France, Austria, The Netherlands, Germany, Greece and Cyprus have particular sensitivities. Furthermore, a major characteristic of Turkey is the high degree of statism and nationalism which contradict the European value system. It should also be noted that the Turkish establishment internally promotes the consolidation of one identity and pursues an assimilationist approach – an approach which appears to make several ethnic and religious minorities feel suffocated. Yet Ankara tends to encourage Turkish speaking people residing outside Turkey to maintain their Turkishness even at the expense of not integrating into the society of the country in which they live. This has been causing serious problems across several societies. Thus, Cyprus is not the only country where the Turkish demands - if implemented - would lead to a deeply segregated society. This attitude and practice recently prompted, for example, Chancellor Merkel to state that the integrationalist multi-cultural model has not worked in Germany. Euro-Turkish relations constitute a major issue in both European and international affairs. No doubt further democratization and modernization of Turkey would contribute to the enhancement of stability, security, and cooperation in the wider region. Up to the present day, however, Turkey does not seem to be willing to comply fully with the prerequisites of becoming a full member of the EU. Similarly, it is doubtful whether the EU can eventually absorb Turkey without changing direction, purpose and philosophy. This is the major reason underlying the stance of Merkel’s Germany and Sarkozy’s France for a special relationship between the EU and Turkey. At the same time, if the policies of Turkey are examined in depth and in detail, it remains unclear whether this country is fully committed to adopting the value system of the EU. Turkey on the European doorstep


European Integration and the Turkish Dilemma

Even though the Commission’s 2010 Progress Report on Turkey refers to positive steps taken - such as the improvement of fundamental rights, the furthering of judicial reform and the lifting of restrictions on broadcasting in languages other than Turkish, it also raises concerns about Turkey’s difficulties in guaranteeing basic freedoms. Clearly, Turkey must introduce further reforms in order to protect freedom of the press, speech, and religion. It must also protect women’s and minority rights,protect conscientious objectors from imprisonment, and reduce the role of the army, among other safeguards. At the same time, it must implement the EU-Turkey Association Agreement’s Additional Protocol in full (thus including the Republic of Cyprus). Moreover, it has to withdraw its occupation troops from the northern part of Cyprus and respect the independence and territorial integrity of this island-state. This would also facilitate the solution of the Cyprus question. Indeed, if we take into consideration the recent demonstrations of Turkish Cypriots against Turkey there is no doubt that if Ankara ends its occupation the Cyprus question would be soon resolved. Within this overall framework it may be essential to raise the question about the possible options of the EU in relation to Turkey. By the same token it will be equally useful to assess the options of Turkey in relation to the EU. Undoubtedly, the recent assertiveness of Turkey in its relations with Israel and its objectives in the broader Middle East influence these issues.

Concluding Remarks Euro-Turkish relations constitute a vital challenge as well as an issue of international interest. The strengthening of the EU and its further integration are major EU aspirations. At the same time, however, further modernization and democratization of Turkey also remain fundamental objectives. An important aim would be to accommodate all these objectives. Turkey’s European path, to the degree to which the country remains committed to such a path, necessitates the fulfilment of serious obligations. There are major internal reforms that need to be made. Adopting, and above all implementing, new legislation is essential. The country should also effectively seek to address its relations with other states in a conclusive manner. Turkey has so far expected other countries to adjust to its own demands without 78


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itself displaying the political will to move forward. If Turkey is indeed serious about its democratization and European orientation it must eventually choose to leave behind its maximalist designs on Cyprus and see it as an equal partner in the EU. Perhaps one of the major issues that needs to be studied further is the likely outcome of a decision for a special relationship between the EU and Turkey on Cyprus. Such a decision may be reached either by the EU, or by Turkey, or by both. In view of the fact that, to a great extent in the last years, the strategy in relation to promoting a resolution to the Cyprus question depended (especially in recent years) on the assumption that Turkey will eventually join the EU, this matter should be revisited. Nonetheless, it is widely acknowledged that the further democratization and modernization of Turkey will serve multiple objectives. Certainly, Turkey must have a fair chance for accession to the EU. At the same time, however, Turkey’s Europeanization process involves obligations that cannot be compromised. Turkey should realize this and act accordingly. If, however, Ankara believes that eventually its interests would be better served by a special relationship then the ballgame changes substantially and would require a comprehensive assessment by the EU.

Bibliography •

Bechev, D. 2011. “Turkey and the EU: Time to Break the Stalemate”, in E.Fabry (Ed.), The Contribution of 16 European Think Tanks to the Polish, Danish and Cypriot Trio Presidency of the European Union, Think Global Act European Report, Notre Europe.

Commission Staff Working Document, “Turkey 2010 Progress Report”, SEC(2010) 1327, Brussels 9 November 2010.

Coufoudakis, V. 2008. International Aggression and Violations of Human Rights – The Case of Cyprus, Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.

Hitchens, C. 1997. Hostage to History: Cyprus from the Ottomans to Kissinger. New York: Verso.

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Ioannides, C. 1991. In Turkey’s Image: The Transformation of Occupied Cyprus into a Turkish Province. New Rochelle, N.Y.: A.D. Caratzas.

Ioannou, C. and Theophanous, A. 2011. “EU Integration and the Prospect of Further Enlargement: The Case of Turkey”, in E. Fabry (Ed.), The Contribution of 16 European Think Tanks to the Polish, Danish and Cypriot Trio Presidency of the European Union, Think Global Act European Report, Notre Europe.

Kyriakides, S. 1968. Cyprus: Constitutionalism and Crisis Government. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.

Lijphart, A. 1977. Democracy in Plural Societies: A Comparative Exploration. New Haven: Yale University Press.

McMahon, P. and J. Western. The Death of Dayton: How to Stop Bosnia from Falling Apart. Foreign Affairs, 88(5): 69-83.

Macris, N. 2003. The 1960 Treaties on Cyprus and Selected Subsequent Acts. Mannheim und Möhnesee: Bibliopolis.

O’Malley, B and I. Craig. 1999. The Cyprus Conspiracy: America, Espionage and the Turkish Invasion. London: I.B. Tauris.

Palley, C. 2005. An International Relations Debacle: The UN Secretary-General’s Mission of Good Offices in Cyprus 1999-2004. Oxford: Hart Publishing

Tekin, A. 2005. “Future of Turkey–EU Relations: A Civilisational Discourse”, Futures 37, pp. 287–302.

Theophanous, A. 2004. The Cyprus Question: The Challenge and the Promise. Nicosia: Intercollege Press.

Theophanous, A. 2008. The Political Economy of a Cyprus Settlement: The Examination of Four Scenaria. Nicosia: PRIO Cyprus Centre.

Theophanous, A. 2009. “The EU, Turkey and Cyprus: What Next?”, ELIAMEP Thesis, November 7/2009.



Turkish Accession to the EU: the “Piranha’s” Threat and the German “Ghost” YIANNOS CHARALAMBIDES*

1. Introduction Since Kemal Ataturk established the Turkish Republic in 1923, all subsequent governments which came to power were devoted to a single aim: to drive their country towards Europe (Ahmad 1993, pp 52-53, 63). Once Ataturk consolidated his revolutionary regime, Turkey followed a European orientation although it was a Muslim state with a different cultural character and mentality (Giallourides 1999, pp. 56-62). On October 3, 2005 the European Council gave the green light to Turkey to push forward its political and strategic aspirations as the European leaders decided to open the procedure of Turkish accession negotiations with the EU (Council of the European Union 2005). Turkey was the first state with a Muslim cultural character and mentality on the EU doorstep. This Muslim identity and different mentality seems to be a significant obstacle and a pretext that hinders Turkey from attaining full membership. Hereupon, a relevant question is raised and focuses on whether Turkish and European mentality and culture could harmoniously coexist in the institutional and social frame of the EU (Charalambides 2010, pp. 65-70, Legendijk 2007, cited in Charalambides p. 70). Certainly, cultural diversities are not the only difficulty and barrier that Turkey faces in achieving its European strategic goal. The fundamental issue that Turkey should deal with, focuses on the problems stemming from the policies, which are implemented by the traditional EU leading countries and rely on the concept of the “power game’s” theory. The relevant question is whether the EU leading countries, and especially France and Germany are ready to share with Turkey the power that they now enjoy within the EU. Turkey presents itself as a regional power (Obama 2009), and most probably it will be one of the main EU leading countries if it joins the EU as a full member state (Charalambides, 2010 pp. 144-147). From a historical and strategic point of view, Turkish accession to the EU reminds *

Doctor of International Relations and European Studies.


Turkish Accession to the EU: the “Piranha’s” Threat and the German “Ghost”

us of the German question: whether we would have a European Germany or a German Europe (Ifestos 1999, pp. 203-204, Spanger 1992, pp.67-78). Paraphrasing the German question, one may put the Turkish accession to the EU in this way: will we have a European Turkey or a Turkish Europe? This article evaluates the Turkish accession to the EU in relation to conflicting and converging national interests, “power games” and cultural diversities, taking also into consideration the EU political integration and cohesion (Morgenthau 1978, pp. 4, 9-14). Turkish accession to the EU constitutes an issue dominating European Affairs and a relevant question, concerning the European future, is generated: will the structural changes, which may result from the Turkish accession to the EU, threaten EU cohesion or not? In this respect, a pertinent question must be set: what is EU cohesion?

2. EU cohesion If we attempt to give a definition to EU cohesion, we have to distinguish between ‘cohesion policy’ (Charalambides 2010, pp. 29-32, Eur. Activ. com 2004) and the ‘cohesion of the EU’. Cohesion policy is an integral part of EU cohesion. In this respect, EU cohesion does not depend only on the cohesion policy of the EU, and on its objectives (i.e. economic, social, political and territorial cohesion). It also depends on theories of Realism, Structural Realism, Functionalism and Neo-Functionalism. These theories set forth and analyze the structure of the international system, its stability, its cohesion and its decline. The EU constitutes a subsystem of the wider international system and some of the factors, which affect the international system’s stability, cohesion and decline, can be classified as follows: a) common interests, b) conflicting national interests, c) redistribution of power, d) share of power, e) threats to existing balances of power, f) the upsetting of the balance of power g) structural changes, h) culture, i) military power, j) social factors, k) economy and l) governance and Institutions (Charalambides 2010, pp. 33-34).



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2.1 Unpredictable factors In the case that all these variables - factors come into play, the EU system maintains its coherence. These are some of the main variables affecting EU cohesion and Turkish accession to the EU. Beyond those mentioned already above, there are other unpredictable factors (variables) which may affect European and global affairs and Turkish accession to the EU. Such a tangible example is reflected in the current economic crisis deriving from the problems that the European and global system of values and principles face. We are not eyewitnesses only of an economic, but also of a systemic crisis. These problems are relevant to EU cohesion and the upcoming enlargements. As Turkish accession to the EU constitutes a procedure directly connected to the enlargements, EU cohesion should be also seen through the lens of the Turkish accession to the EU in conjunction to the upcoming enlargements. In this respect, a significant question should be set: can we enlarge Europe but not take the necessary measures to guarantee EU cohesion, especially in the current period in which Europe must tackle economic and social problems? Greece, Ireland, Spain and Italy lie at the edge of the knife, and they are victims of their own structural problems (banking system, single currency and sovereign debt), the global economic crisis and its negative consequences, and the conflicting national interests. The Europeans made a significant decision as they formed the eurozone with the expectation it would become a global economic power. However, they did not predict the establishment of a mechanism of managing crisis. Therefore, when economic, institutional and other variables became victims of structural and systemic problems, EU cohesion got into tremendous trouble. Countries like Italy, Spain, Greece and others in the South of Europe, are shaken by manifestations and strikes, social and political instability. The international economic system is rocked by severe problems as the “golden boys” seem to have been turned into “piranhas” smashing the European and global economic systems and thereby putting the eurozone and its cohesion in jeopardy.

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It is obvious that the EU faces economic and systemic problems and therefore: 1.

One could argue that Turkey may have no strong motive to join the EU any more. As Turkey has a quite healthy economy, why should it get into the EU economic storm? This is a rational question, which politically aims at releasing Turkey from pressure in order to fulfil its obligations regarding the Cyprus issue and speed up the reforms required by the EU. However, there are institutional and political reasons for Turkey to join the EU. If Turkey joins the EU, it will seize the opportunity to render itself an EU leading country, what ever this means. In other words, Turkey will share the EU political and institutional and any other power with the traditional EU leading countries.


The EU does not possess the political courage to integrate Turkey. Some of the European leading countries, like Germany and France provide the following allegation: in case Turkey joins the EU, EU cohesion will collapse (Charalambides 2010, pp.64-65). This argument leads to the classical question whether Europe should implement a strategic option based on widening or deepening.

3. “Multiple speed” and Realism Taking into consideration what we mentioned above, we must raise three main topics, strictly connected to the Turkish accession to the EU and EU cohesion:



“Power games”. This is a topic which can affect and define the future and the outcome of the Turkish accession to the EU.


Unpredictable factors and situations, such as the current economic crisis. Five years ago, no economic crisis could be seen in the horizon and nobody could imagine the ongoing economic tsunami. On the contrary, in 2003 Turkey was facing an acute crisis and a risk of a total collapse was eminent, while Europe seemed to be on a good and healthy economic track.


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The reforms required by the EU. This topic is connected to the question of what might be happen if Turkey meets the EU criteria. From a technical point of view, if Turkey fulfils the Copenhagen and other legal and political criteria, then it will deserve to join the EU as a full member state. The question is whether these criteria are politically adequate to offer to Turkey the ticket for its full membership. The answer is no. Why? Turkish accession to the EU falls under the rules of a “power game”. Turkey usually presents itself as a regional power, because it has a big territorial size, a pivotal geostrategic and geopolitical location, the biggest army in Europe and the second largest army in NATO (Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Turkey, 2008, The Economist 2006). Furthermore, it has the biggest and youngest population in Europe after Germany. For the current period, it scores a high development and growth rate climbing to 8.3% of its GDP, albeit the global system seems to be at the peak of a global crisis (CIA World Factbook 2011). We hope that we are, indeed, at the peak. Otherwise, the existing unpleasant economic situation will become worse. Economic, social, political and institutional cohesion is already under threat and Europe will face more acute social and economic, even political and institutional turbulence in the upcoming period. There are politicians and analysts who publicly support a European political system of “multiple speeds” or “circles”, providing the argument that such a system already de facto exists. The first circle includes the “hard core” of the eurozone, namely the Franco-German axis. The second includes the rich, “triple A” countries and the third one includes those states being under the surveillance of the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF) (Barker and Spiegel 2001, p4). The fourth circle comprises of those countries which do not belong to eurozone, but they are on their way to join, if they meet the criteria. The last circle is that of Britain and Denmark. Both states have consciously opted to stay out of the eurozone. It was a decision taken in line with their national interests. Thus, the question is whether the institutionalization of a Europe based on a structural “multiple speed” system will keep the EU in cohesion or whether Turkey on the European doorstep


Turkish Accession to the EU: the “Piranha’s” Threat and the German “Ghost”

it will backfire and strike the efforts towards regional integration. In such a case, the triumph of Realism is obvious, as the EU will institutionally, legally, politically and economically reshape itself by using rules and principles stemming from Realism and “power game” theories rather than from theories of functionalism or neo– functionalism, which inspires policies and efforts towards European integration. Under these circumstances, if Turkey joins the EU as a full member state, and if the EU implements a new institutional structure, then Turkey will be one of the leading countries, belonging to the “first speed”. Therefore, why would the traditional EU leading countries want to see Turkey joining the EU as a full member state?

4. The theory of the “three wedges” We have already stressed the view that the current economic crisis will negatively affect Turkish accession to the EU for two pertinent reasons: firstly, Turkey does not have a strong economic motive to join the EU and secondly, the EU has no political courage to integrate a new leading Muslim country in the EU. Of course, one may allege that if the political and economic situation gets better, then the possibility of a Turkish membership will acquire new momentum. Even now, and although Turkish accession to the EU is in a deadlock, Turkey never stopped championing for a full membership (Bayis 2011).1 Therefore, if Turkey joins the EU as a full member – state, it will be one of the main EU leading countries. At this point, we must set the following question: are the EU leading countries ready to share the political, institutional and economic power that now enjoy within the EU with Turkey? If some of the EU leading countries, like France and Germany, wish to see Turkey joining the EU as a full member state, there is no reason to put on the negotiating table the idea of the “privileged partnership”. Therefore, one could speculate a number of reasons that EU leading countries do not want Turkish membership:

1. Egemen Bayis stated on November 4, 2001, that Turkish main goal is the Turkey’s EU membership.



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They have no political will to share their power with Turkey.


They consider that EU cohesion might be at stake as a result of the cultural and religious problems, which may arise if Turkey joins the EU. The argument provided by those who do not support Turkish membership is the following: Turkey has a Muslim character and a different system of values, which do not comply with the EU cultural identity. Thus, Turkey has no place in the EU because Europe is a Christian Club with its own cultural character and system of values and therefore such a system of values and principles could not coexist with the Muslim one.


There are voices alleging that Turkey will be the US “Trojan horse” (Karin and Gerras 2005, p. 17).

The three reasons mentioned above are relevant to the geopolitical - geostrategic theory of “tree wedges”. What does this theory provide for? In the context of a “power game” between the EU and the US, the Americans use “three strategic wedges” in order to keep Europe and especially the EU under the American geopolitical and geostrategic control: 1)

Britain in the northwest.


Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic in the central Europe (MFA Republic of Poland 2008, Hildreth and Ek 2008, pp, 6-8)


Turkey in the southeast (Charalambides 2010, pp.32-37)

I consider that this is one of the main US geostrategic and geopolitical plans in order to put in practice what Richard Holbrook set forth and analyzed in his article, published in 1995, in the famous journal of Foreign Affairs, bearing the title : “America the European Power!”

5. Dilemmas and “Third Road” As we have already analyzed, Turkish accession to the EU moves between the political framework of a “power game” and a technical procedure including the fulfilment of the Copenhagen criteria on the one hand and other legal and political obligations required by the EU, on the other. Such a Turkey on the European doorstep


Turkish Accession to the EU: the “Piranha’s” Threat and the German “Ghost”

procedure generates dilemmas that the EU must deal with. These dilemmas are by definition pertinent to “power games” and EU cohesion and they are classified as follows: Firstly, if Turkey meets the Copenhagen criteria, then it will be eligible to become a full member state and an EU leading country. Are the Europeans released from the Vienna and Christian-club syndromes (Barysch 2007, p.4, Ripperton, n.d.)? Are they ready to accept the leading role of a Muslim country, which is duly a devoted US ally? Secondly, what might occur, if Turkey meets the Copenhagen criteria, but the EU and especially some of its leading countries say no, serving their own political interests? Will the Euro - Turkish relations get into a crisis? How dangerous would such a crisis be? What will the role of the US be? Will the US - as a superpower and the most significant actor in the global and European affairs – prevent, or stir up such a crisis? The answer is simple: it depends on the US national interests (Charalambides 2010, pp.191-194)! Of course, in such a case, the “third road”, which means the “privileged partnership”, will be the only way out (Charalambides 2010, pp. 204-205). Besides, there are political forces in Turkey alleging that if Ankara fully implements the reforms required by the EU and furthermore establishes a western type of democracy, the Turkish state may be in risk of collapsing. Why? Turkey could not keep together - imprisoned within a black box - all the existing social and political contradictory forces that Turkish society is composed of. In the current period, the “Pandora’s box”, where all these contradictory forces are enclosed, is under pressure. If the box blows up, the Turkish political system will find itself in a very risky situation. At this point we must note that the Turkish system has been maintaining its coherence as a result of the Turkish democratic deficit. Whilst in Europe the main variable, which keeps the system in coherence is democracy, in Turkey happens quite the contrary. From this point of view, Turkish accession to the EU has a twofold character: in case of a full Turkish membership, it is not only EU cohesion which might be at stake but Turkish cohesion as well. Thus, both the EU and Turkish cohesion should be the result of “double phase” reforms based on democratic principles. These reforms should aim at rendering the EU institutional system functional and Turkey an open and democratic political system. 88


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Thirdly: will the Turkish accession to the EU threaten EU cohesion, socially, economically even institutionally and politically? Will we have a total or partial redistribution of power and structural changes within the EU and therefore an upset of the existing balance of power and a crisis (Charalambides 2010, pp. 55-60)? Will the EU face the risk of a social institutional and political conflict between Muslims and Christians? Can we achieve a compromise between two different systems of values and principles? Can these two systems coexist? This is a very complicated issue and can not be addressed casually. On the contrary, the Europeans can encounter this problem in formulating a policy addressing the question what kind of Europe they want to establish. On the other hand, Turkey should take brave steps in setting up democratic institutions and fully respecting human rights. Otherwise, there will be no way out, and both Europe and Turkey will be trapped in a vicious circle.

6. Conclusions Turkish accession to the EU, balances on a thin rope composed of conflicting and diverging national interests. From a Realistic point of view, such a balance between conflicting and diverging national interests is what we mean “destiny of the system”. This is how the system works. Both sides, the EU as such and its member states on the one hand, and Turkey on the other, ought to find a formula to advance their national interests under the prism of a win – win situation no matter if the resultant outcome of the Turkish accession to the EU entails the status of a “privileged regime”. Since some of the EU leading countries, as Germany and France, face Turkey as a “piranha”, ready to smash EU cohesion and thus putting the European system at stake, and if traditional and other forces in Turkey consider the democratic reforms required by the EU like piranhas and threat for the Turkish political, national and social cohesion, then Turkish accession to the EU cannot come to a successful and positive outcome. Through the analysis of Turkish accession to the EU, we can realize why Turkey is a part of a wider “power game” where not only some of the EU leading states, but the US is also actively involved in. In the frame of such a “power game”, we bear in mind the German question. It is an issue which

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is pertinent to the service of national interests, EU cohesion and the upcoming enlargements. Indeed, in 1998, Richard Holbrook articulated in his book, “To end a War”, that German question did not exist any more. Taking into consideration the current economic crisis and the EU member states’ efforts to find a comprehensive solution, let me put the Holbrook’s allegation in question. Germany dominates Europe since Greece, Ireland, Portugal Spain and Italy depend on its financial aid and political support. The German government aims to identify its national interests with the common European ones as much as it can, setting also the policy of financial aid in this way: we may exchange financial support with the poorest states’ sovereignty. In this respect, one may argue that it is obvious a political and economic tendency leading to a “German Europe”, whatever that means. In any case, as Turkey constitutes a dominant country presenting itself as a regional power, a similar question is raised: will we have a European Turkey or a Turkish Europe? It is a scenario which mostly concern Germans, who feel the risk of losing a considerable part of their EU institutional and political power if Turkey joins the EU and becomes a legally and institutionally equal powerful cohabitant of the traditional EU leading countries in the heart of Europe (Baldwin and Widgér, 2005, Charalambides 2010, pp.116-123).

Bibliography •

Ahmad, F 1993, The Making of Modern Turkey, Routledge, London and New York.

Baldwin, R & Widgrén, M 2005, The Impact of Turkish Membership on EU Voting, Centre for European Policy Studies, February, no. 62, viewed 18 July 2008,

Barker, A and Spiegel, P 2011, Barrosso unveils action blueprint, Financial Times, October 13.

Barysch, K 2007, What Europeans Think about Turkey and Why, Centre for European Reform, August, viewed 31 March 2008,

Bayis, E 2011, a short speech given in the context of meeting with a mission of the European Parliament (ENVI committee) in Istanbul, October 4.



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CIA World Factbook, 2011, Turkey Economy 2011, viewed 18 March 2011, < html>

Charalambides, Y 2010, The Big Bet, Will the Turkish Accession to the EU Threaten the European Cohesion? Peter Lang, Internationler Verlag Wissenschaften Frankfurt.

Council of the European Union 2005, 2678th Council Meeting: General Affairs and External Relations, 12514/1/05 REV 1, Luxembourg, 3 October, viewed 31 March 2008, < pressdata/en/gena/86442.pdf>. 2004, The New EU Cohesion Policy, 5 November, viewed 1 April 2008, <>.

European Parliament, 2007, Personal Interview given for the purposes of this research in Brussels, 9 October

Giallouridis, C 1997, Tourkia se Metavasi, Sideris Publications, Athens.

Hildreth, S & Ek, C 2008, Long-Range Ballistic Missile Defense in Europe, CRS Report for Congress, Prepared for Members and Committees of Congress, Congressional Research Service, 13 June, viewed 28 August 2008, <>.

Holbrook, R 1995, ‘America, a European Power’, Foreign Affairs, March/April, viewed 28 August 2008, <http://www.foreignaffairs. org/19950301faessay5023/richard-holbrooke/america-a-europeanpower.html>.

Ifestos, P 1999, Diplomacy and Strategy of the Great European Powers, France, Germany and Great Britain, Poiotita publishing, Athens.

Kalin, Y & Gerras, S 2005, ‘The Implications of the EU Admittance of Turkey on Turkish - EU Relations and Turkish - US Relations’, Strategy Research Paper, U.S. Army War College, Carlisle Barracks, 18 March.

Turkey on the European doorstep


Turkish Accession to the EU: the “Piranha’s” Threat and the German “Ghost”

Lagendijk, J (Chairman of the EU- Turkey Joint Parliamentary Committee) Personal interview given for the purposes of the Book, “The Big Bet”, will the Turkish accession to the EU threaten the European cohesion? (On October 9, 2007)

Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Poland 2008, ‘Signing of the agreement regarding the placement in Poland of antiballistic defensive missile interceptors as well as the adoption of a Polish - US declaration of strategic co-operation’, 20 August, viewed 28 August 2008, <>.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Turkey 2008a, II. Turkey´s Contributions to International Peace Keeping Activities, viewed 18 July 2008, <>.

Morgenthau, H. (1978), Politics Among Nations: The Struggle for Power and Peace, Knopf, New York.

Obama, B 2009, Speech to Turkish Parliament, April 7, by Associated Press, viewed 10 May 2009, <>

Ripperton, L (no date), The Siege of Vienna, The Baldwin Project, viewed 17 July 2008, < book=german&story=vienna>.

Spanger, H 1992, European Security Towards 2000, edited by Michael C. Pugh, Published by Manchester University Press.

The Economist, 2006. ‘Turkey, America and Europe: Who’s loosing Turkey?’ 28 September 28, viewed 25 May 2009, < displayStory.cfm?Story_ID=E1_SJSTDQG



Turkish External Orientation and Political Culture CHRISTODOULOS K. YIALLOURIDES* AFENDOULIS TH. LANGIDES**

1. Introduction Eighty-seven years after its foundation, the Turkish Republic is facing perhaps the most severe challenge to its post-Ottoman existence; and Turkish elites have begun to feel insecure and uncertain about the country’s orientation and the direction the country should be following. Today what is being questioned are the basic structure and institutions of the state, rising from the ashes of the Ottoman Empire, the Greek-Turkish war of 1919-1922, the Treaty of Lausanne in 1923, and, most of all, from the cultural, social and political revolution of Mustafa Kemal (Atatürk), to which the neo-Turkish state became irrevocably attached.I Turkey now appears to be attempting to choose whether it belongs to the West or to Asia, to a secular state or to an Islamic one. The Kemalist state, which for decades assumed a decidedly nationalist garb and, since 1947, an unequivocally pro-western strategy as regards its security and foreign policy, is no longer stable; its political system is vacillating between Islam and Europe, raising doubts about the strategic goals established by Mustafa Kemal and his successors.II Since the Islamist, Necmetin Erbakan, became prime minister in June 1996, the country has entered a period of crisis which appears to be of uncertain duration and resolution. The results of the elections of November 2002 appear to have added to this crisis. Uncertainty and insecurity with regard to the direction or external orientation of the state are not new to Turkey. These have been ongoing issues in the country’s foreign relations over the last half century. Due to the crisis in Cyprus, national interests have dictated a tactical change or adjustment in Turkey’s commitment to the West. *

Professor of International Politics, Dept. of Communication, Media and Culture, Panteion University of Social and Political Sciences.

** Doctor of International Relations.


Turkish External Orientation and Political Culture

In 1964, Turkish leadership decided to make an overtures to the Soviets, along with the Arab and Islamic world. III During the seventies, Bulent Ecevit attempted to change Turkey’s perceptions with regard to its security and to widen the arena of its foreign policy. Internal unrest, which drove the country close to disintegration, and the indirect, though abrupt, changes in Turkey’s security policy, once again in the name of Kemal Atatürk, led to the coup d’etat of September 12, 1980. This military intervention, as with the previous ones in 1960 and in 1971, was legitimized by invoking Kemal Ataturk’s principles, i.e. the preservation of the secular, western-oriented Turkish state.IV Today, however, the crisis regarding the Turkish political system, i.e. of the continuance of a Kemalist approach, is deep, complex and possibly incurable. Indeed, for many, Kemalism as a social reality and philosophy ceased to exist long ago.V Rather, it simply existed for the purpose of legitimizing political and ideological power by the leaders currently wielding it. What we have now is an expression of divergence between East and West,VI between Asiatic and European social behavior, between eastern and western modes of development, while at the same time there is conflict between the European secular political and the Islamic theocratic cultures. Until now Atatürk’s creation of the Turkish state has shown a unique ability to endure, survive and adapt to new conditions, despite internal contra¬dictions and conflicts, and despite external pressures and problems in the region. However, to the founder of the Turkish Republic, Islam represented a backward concept, both as a form of social behavior and as an ideology and did not belong in a politically modern state.VII

2. Western and European aspirations and affiliations Europe represented for Turkey, according to Atatürk, a civic and cultural measure of strategic importance - a political partner and a paradigm of economic success which “ought to have been a model and an example for Turkey”.VIII With this model in mind, Mustafa Kemal attempted to westernize Turkish cultural, social and economic sectors: in fact, many established norms were overturned. He also attempted to establish new institutions. At the political level, however, he ruled dictatorially. After his death, and especially 94


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after the Second World War, a Turkish style democracy was established.IX A democracy of this kind was never able to be identified as congruent with modern, western-style democracies, since it was not founded on the principles of civil society, at the core of a democratic system. The Turkish Republic, moreover, has for over eighty years existed under the guardianship of the military as a kind of political hostage. The latter intervened when it decided that the unity of the state or its secular foundations were threatened; and the military justified its action in terms of a defence of Kemalism and its legacy, as well as on behalf of the unity of the state.X Thus, the military to this day has enjoyed political and institutional legitimacy to intervene in a corrective or “remedial” role, even going as far as to nullify the constitution. Turkish foreign policy during the first period of the Kemalist rule was oriented towards independence and neutrality. It was transformed, after the Second World War and in the environment of the Cold War, into an instrument of Western strategic and political security; and it formed a part of the comprehensive nuclear deterrence strategy opposing the Soviet empire. Turkey fully and freely agreed with the foreign policy of the West and the strategic perceptions of NATO from the first years after the Second World War until the first major Greek-Turkish crisis over Cyprus, in 1964. Turkey’s incorporation into the western fold was in harmony with Turkish interests, not only as these emerged after the Second World War, but also with Atatürk’s prescription for the political and cultural orientation of the Turkish political system. As Mustafa Kemal had said, Turkey as part of the West feels safe in the areas of stability, power and, above all, progress, as opposed to feeling unsafe regarding the intrusion of theocratic Islam into politics, which breeds instability, uncertainty, and above all backwardness, and causes Kemalists to revisit the traumatic experiences of the Turkish elite harking back to the Ottoman Empire and its late period of disintegration.XI Clearly, perceptions of the Turkish elite about the full and institutional integration of their nation into the European Union has as its justification the political and institutional safeguarding of the secular, western-oriented Turkish state. This means that the homogeneous Turkish nation today depends for its survival on advancing its institutional integration into Europe. XII Turkey on the European doorstep


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Quite apart from questions relating to the interpretation of the real will of Kemal Atatürk, for the Turkish elite, Europe and the accession to the European Union is to be taken for granted, as are its expected economic and political advantages. Furthermore, Turkish elites sustain the notion and hope that its European accession will also influence Turkey positively with regard to cultural values and identity. The political leadership does not appear to have examined in depth the possible negative effects, on a number of levels, not only socially and economically, but also on the domestic level, of a complete or nearly complete accession to the European Union. The collapse of the Soviet Union spelled the end of the strategic clash between East and West; and, at the same time, brought about a historic, if not stunning, change of scenery in the wider region, redolent with a series of major strategic challenges for Turkey’s foreign policy.XIII At that time, Turkey felt that its role, along with its ability to influence events, extended from the Adriatic and the Black Sea to the Great Wall of China. This implied a historic challenge to Turkey and its efforts to become a great regional power or even play a hegemonic role over a wider, more fluid and unstable area.XIV This hegemonic role that Turkey would like to play conflicts with the greater and, to a certain degree impenetrable, domestic problems the country is facing. The disputes or conflicts witnessed in the Kurdish conflict give Europe a problematic and politically troubled image of Turkey, and represent an obstacle for its political legitimization as a European country.XV Islam, on the other hand, appears to be another dimension of the crisis, implying disorder, and these difficulties create the perception of a country in the grip of potential instability.

3. The A.K.P. period. A new Paradigm The revival of Neo-Ottoman ideas as expressed by Ahmet Davutoglu harks back to the ideological discussions and arguments that began at the end of the 19th century, continued with the Young Turk revolution, and persisted until the emergence of Kemal—i.e. until the founding of the mod¬ern Turkish state. For this reason the Turks use the term “contiguous external region,” (which is reminiscent of Boris Yeltsin’s remarks on the role of the Russian confederation in its own contiguous external region) or even



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“strategic depth.” In other words, Turkey’s zone of control or sovereignty or even strong cultural and historical ties extends over not only the regions of the former Soviet Union, but also over other territories that once belonged to the Ottoman Empire. Furthermore, a Neo-Ottoman foreign policy cannot possibly be separated from the strong influence of Islam internally. Such a turn of events, of course, is not limited to the increasing strength of the Justice and Development Party. The process of Islamization has gripped a wide segment of the population, including party activists and sympathizers. This trend became particularly strong among certain social strata during the 90s well into the first decade of the 21st century. It is obvious that the current conflict between secularists and Islamists will have an impact on the fate of the very structure of the state. At the same time, the old differences between Alevis and Sunnis also are being revived.XVI The tide for the moment seems to have changed in favour of political Islam,but the balance between the regime established by the Ak Partesi (AKP) after 2002, can at any time change, especially since the meteoric rise of the “Islam-Democrats,” which was to a very large extent, based on the charismatic personality of its leader, today’s Prime Minister Recep Tayip Erdoğan. In fact, corruption across the largest part of the political spectrum of Turkey, along with the debilitating economic crisis of 1999-2000 led to the landslide victory of the Justice and Development Party (AKP), in November 2002 and the virtual extinction of the traditional political formations and figures, since then. The 87 year old Turkish state has, on a number of occasions, faced a choice between democracy and transformation of the regime on one hand, and the preservation of the Kemalist status quo on the other. Every time there arose doubt about the Kemalist creed, the military, as guardians of the principles and the heritage of Kemal, intervened to readjust or to redress the situation, forcing at times, as in 1960 and 1980, major constitutional and civic changes.XVII The conflict between the forces of the Kemalists and the Islamists has climaxed, however, reaching dangerously tense levels, since the military and its leadership began to express concern over the fate of the secular state regime in various ways.XVIII The military, which during the last fifty years has intervened three times in the political affairs of the “Turkish Republic” Turkey on the European doorstep


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as a guardian of the principles of Kemal Ataturk and of the structure of the Turkish state itself, found its patience taxed. While contemplating a repetition of its old “modernizing” interventions, the military not only orchestrated a post-modern electronic coup and established groups or plans like “Ergenekon” and “Balyoz”; but its actions also led to radical changes in the political system and the country’s international standing. It appears however that, for the present, the military has chosen not to depart from constitutional or parliamentary norms. Nonetheless, Kemalist political parties, such as they are, and the Western-oriented elite are seriously alarmed about the possibility of a structural transformation of the state, or some form of military comeback. This would cause great problems to the country’s foreign relations, leading at least to a temporary isolation of relations with Europe and to uncertain internal developments,XIX whereas, up to the present, Turkey has managed to convince the international community that it is in a position to play effectively multiple roles as a hegemonic element of stability in the unstable, fluid and geopolitically critical international zone of the Middle East, the Balkans, Central Asia and the Caucasus, and the Islamic World at large.XX It appears that Turkish military prefers to seek political solutions to the quandaries resulting from Kemalism and the Islamic turn taken by many in authority in Turkey, through manipulation and close supervision of the political system.XXI Such was the case in the past, with the “solution” sought by the famous National Security Council Memorandum issued on the February 28, 1997, which the Erbakan government was forced to accept in principle before being outlawed in January 1998.XXII This, however has not been the case since 2002, when gradually but steadily, and in substantial percentages, the Islamic AK Party, under the leadership of Tayip Erdoğan, has managed to gain support in subsequent Parliamentary and Municipal elections and has been able to confront the Military and the rest of the Kemalist bureaucracy successfully, by way of infiltrating the structures of the state, and by leaking to the public all the misgivings of the military. Thus, the Turkish Republic has come to a point where a seemingly unchallenged government, shaped by certain politicians who were once considered outcasts, feels strong enough to detain and imprison a large number of former and current military officials on charges of trying to subvert a legally elected government, and of



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constituting what is widely known to be the “Deep State” within the state. Benefitting also from a steady upward trend in the economy, the AKP government has succeeded in silencing almost any opposing political party in the Turkish Parliament, a fact enhanced by the lack of serious opposition leadership. In terms of the external orientation, much has happened since 2002. The AKP government, initially integrated into its program pro-European rhetoric, thus posing as a pro-European political party set to be the champion of human rights and dedicated to the restoration of a state of righteousness and justice. Within a decade Turkey has found more support for its case within the E.U., some of them coming from the newer member states. On the other hand, the shifting political balance within large European states, such as France and Germany, deprived the Turkish European membership campaign of its most ardent supporters. Proposals such as the Mediterranean Union, after 2007, angered Turkish political leadership, which saw in these proposals some measure of political scheming against an outright legitimate Turkish claim. On the matter of Turkey’s relations with the West in general, the Turkish denial of the 2003 American request to open a “northern front” against Iraq has set a new trend in the relationship between the two parties, heavily influenced by the deterioration of the Turkish-Israeli relationship from 2009 on. A “zero problem” policy against its immediate neighbours, which means, de-emphasizing problems with surrounding countries such as Syria, Iran, and Greece, and inspired by Ahmet Davutoglu, former academic and present foreign minister of the Turkish republic, initially seemed promising, projecting Turkey into a position of leadership within the region. However, the recent changes in the Arab World, the West’s confrontational stance against Iran, and of course the fact that Turkey has not moved an inch in its claims on Cyprus, have outlined the feebleness and weaknesses of the “zero problem” policy which has to defend itself against the claims that in its essence it is a Neo-Ottoman of regional domination. Finally, Turkey’s crisis regarding its orientation and strategic direction has been worsened and burdened by the refusal of the European states to

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recognize its European status. In other words, Europe refuses to accept the philosophical-cultural and political-economic place of Turkey within the European entity, or to confirm its progress towards joining it.XXIII The stance of the Europeans vis-a-vis Turkey with regard to the latter is clouded and confused since many members consider Turkey, economically and geo-strategically an integral part of Europe, but still feel equally concerned about the accession of a Muslim state into the European Union.


R. Robins, “The Kurdish Factor-The Overload State,” International Affairs vol.69, no. 4 (October 1993): 657-676. Also, A. Kourkoulas,”Turkey Today” (in Greek), Kathimerini, December 28, 1996, 3.


Financial Times, May 2, 1995. Also, A. Kourkoulas, “Turkey Collapsing” (in Greek), Kathimerini, December 1, 1996.


F. Ahmad, The Turkish Experiment in Democracy 1950-1975 (Boulder: Westview Press, 1977), 403-411, 413-416, 421-424.


W. Hale, Turkish Politics and the Military (London: Routledge, 1994), 215-241.


A. Paresoglou, “The Turkish Political System,” in Turkey Today (Athens: Papazisis-ELIAMEP, 1995) 104-109.


A. Mango, Turkey: The Challenge of a New Role (The Washington Papers) (London: Praeger, 1994), 1-4.


Ahmad, The Turkish Experiment in Democracy, 363-365.


Stephanos Pesmatzoglou, Europe-Turkey. Reflections and Deflections. The Strategy of Texts (in Greek), (Athens:: Themelio, 1993), 194-196.


Neocles Sarres, Foreign Policy and Political Developments During the First Turkish Republic (in Greek) (Athens: Gordios, 1992), 41.


Ahmad, The Turkish Experiment in Democracy, 407-411.



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Pesmatzoglou, Europe-Turkey, 101-155.


However, the large majority of Greek and foreign analysts maintains that, “Turkey, is not willing to make even minor concessions either in the field of internal democratization, or in the field of Greek-Turkish differences” See G. Kapopoulos,”The European Realism of Ankara” (in Greek), Kathimerini, July 12, 1998.


Mango, Turkey: The Challenge of a New Role, 94-109.


Ibid, 111-121.


Pesmatzoglou, Europe - Turkey, 80-89.


Pesmatzoglou, Europe-Turkey, 215-230. For a more up to date and detailed analysis of the Alevi issue see: Theodoras Tsakiris, The Third Controlling Factor. Identity, Deflections and Development Potential of the Alewite Phenomenon in Modern Turkey (in Greek) (Athens: EKOME, 1998).


Mehmet Ali Birand, At Your Orders, Commander (in Greek) (Athens: Floras, 1992), 335-337.


H. Pope, “Turkey’s Military Flexing its Muscle, Voices Concerns on Islamists, Greece,” The Wall Street Journal, February 25, 1997.


A letter from Suleyman Demirel, president of the Turkish Republic, to Prime Minister Necmetin Erbakan states, in a terse and succinct manner, concerns and fears over the emergence of “radical-retrograde tendencies” and warns Erkbakan against allowing further erosion or change in fundamental Kemalist principles, on which is based the “Democratic, Popular and Social State of Justice,” Hurriyet, February 28, 1997, 1. In the same context, the National Security Council of Turkey, in a special session held on February 28, 1997 and following long hours of deliberation with Erbakan, issued a twenty point memorandum, in which, among other admonitions, it was emphasized that “no deviation from the Turkish state’s modern principles will be tolerated from now on.” The famous Memorandum of the

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Security Council included a full paragraph on how important it is for Turkey to put an end to concepts which “place in doubt its democratic status and tarnish its image abroad.” See details of the 20 point Memorandum of the National Security Council, in Hurriyet, March 2,1997, as well as in The Wall Street Journal (Europe), March 9, 1997. XX.

M.E. Ahrari, “The dynamics of the new great game in Muslim Central Asia,” in Central Asian Survey, vol. 13 no. 4 (1994), 525- 539.


The Wall Street Journal (Europe), March 9, 1997.


Sami Kohen, Milliyet, March 2, 1997.


Kathimerini, March 2, 1997, p.6.


Celestine Bohlen, “Fragile Mosaic: In a Search for ‘Turkishness,’ Turks Reveal Their Diversity,” The New York Times, May 18, 1996.




Turkey in the International System

Turkey’s Geopolitical Position and its Role as an Energy Corridor YASAR YAKIS* In this article, Turkey’s geopolitical position and its importance as an energy corridor will be discussed in four sections: 1) historical background; 2) the present situation; 3) Turkey’s multiple identities; and 4) Turkey’s importance as an energy corridor.

I - Historical background Turkey is located at the intersection of two important axes: 1) the EastWest axis stretching from the Middle East, overland through the Anatolian peninsula, to the Balkans; and 2) the North-South axis extending from the Black Sea through the Turkish Straits to the Mediterranean.

A. The East-West axis (Anatolia) The East-West axis, that is to say the land mass called Anatolia, served as a cradle to many civilisations, one following another: Hittites began to arrive in Anatolia at the turn of the second millennium BC and established their empire around 1750 BC in Hattussas in Central Anatolia. Babylonians formed their trade colonies in the capital city of the Hittite empire at the centre of Anatolia; thirty-five hundred years old cuneiform tablets reflect a sophisticated urban and commercial life in the middle of the second millennium BC in Anatolia; and the Trojan Wars were fought at the western coasts of Anatolia. Hittites were succeeded by the Phrygians, Bythinians, Lydians, Persians (led by Alexander the Great) Byzance, the Seljuks, the Ottomans and, finally, by Republican Turkey. This multitude of successive civilisations is an indication that the history of the Asia Minor, which constitutes most of Turkey’s present territory, was not calm. Indeed, areas with no geopolitical importance remain relatively calm; and their history is much less disturbed than the history of areas of geopolitical importance. The turbulent history of Anatolia is telling evidence of its geopolitical importance. *


Chairman, EU Committee in the Turkish Parliament. Former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Turkey.

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B. North-South axis (Bosporus and Dardanelles) The North-South axis is a seaway that links the Black Sea basin to the “warm seas” (the Mediterranean.) This axis was used intensively since the time of ancient myth. It played an important role in shaping the history of the Black Sea basin. According to the Greek mythology the mythical Jason and his courageous Greek Argonauts passed through this axis in the ship, the Argos, sailing on to Colchis (the present Georgia) to secure the Golden Fleece. Indeed, many Greek colonies were established all around the Black Sea by people who used the same seaways. These colonies indeed played an important role in the shaping of the history of the coasts of the Black Sea, especially in the Eastern and Northern shores. The vestiges of Greek culture that survives in these regions to this day are the remnants of these Greek colonies. Napoleon must have been inspired by the area around the Bosporus when he said that “If the world was to be governed by one single State, its capital would be Constantinople (Istanbul).” (The central position of Istanbul can be seen on Map-1, where it spans Asia and Europe and is close to the point where Africa meets Asia.) MAP-1: Turkey’s location at the crossroad of continents

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The seaway that goes from the Black Sea to the “warm seas” crosses the Turkish Straits. The control of these straits was always a major foreign policy goal for the Russian Empire after it gained access to the Black Sea in 1711 and signed the Ottoman-Russian Treaty of Prut. One century later, in July 1807, when the Russian Tsar, Alexander I, insisted in Tilsit that he would control the Turkish Straits, Napoleon retorted by saying “Constantinople? Mais Constantinople c’est l’Empire du monde” (Constantinople? But Constantinople is the empire of the world.”) In 1943 at Potsdam, when Stalin, Churchill and Roosevelt were negotiating the aftermath of the Second World War, Stalin insisted that Russia should have a say about the Turkish Straits.

II - The present situation The parameters that made this region important in the past continue to prevail today. Every region in the world claims that it is at the epicentre of world events. In a sense, any point on the world map may be regarded as the centre of the globe. However to make a more rational comparison from a geostrategic standpoint, we may draw a circle on the world map with Istanbul at the centre and with its perimeter stretching as far as the United Kingdom (Map-2). Such a circle will cover the majority of the world where history has been shaped. It covers almost all of the European countries, North Africa, the Caucasus and the entire Middle East. Seventy per cent of world gas and oil reserves lie here. Forty per cent of the world’s oil and gas is consumed here. Most of the conflicts that fill the agenda of the international community take place in the areas that are covered by this circle. It is not easy to draw a circle with similar effects if you take as its centre any other major metropolis in the MAP 2: Istanbul as an epicentre



EURODIALOGUE Journal of International Relations, European, Economic and Social Studies

world. There are several hot spots in the world which may negatively affect the security or economic interests of the West in general and those of the European countries in particular. Many of them are in the Balkans, the Caucasus, Central Asia and in the Middle East. Almost all of these regions are in Turkeyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s immediate neighbourhood. Central Asia is not only in the immediate neighbourhood; but Turkey has historical, linguistic and ethnic ties with the peoples of, and has a relatively strong presence among, the countries of this region. Before elaborating on the geopolitical importance of Turkey, it may be appropriate to say a few words about the importance of the sub-regions that surround Turkey, namely the Black Sea basin, the Caucasus, the Middle East, the Balkans and Central Asia. Each one of these regions is important for different reasons. And the role that Turkey could play varies also from one region to the other. A. The Black Sea basin The Black Sea basin could be divided into two regions 1) the Black Sea maritime area and 2) the Black Sea basin as a whole. The latter encompasses the territories of all littoral countries as well as countries that are not littoral but use the Black Sea as their main outlet to the world. These would include Azerbaijan, Armenia, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan. The Black Sea maritime area The strategic importance of the Black Sea maritime area stems from: a) energy routes; b) the provisions of the Montreux convention, and c) military cooperation in the Black Sea . a.

Energy routes An important portion of the oil and gas originating in the Russian Federation or in the Caspian Sea basin is shipped through the maritime area of the Black Sea either by oil tankers or through pipelines laid in the sea bed. Oil tankers that cross the Black Sea maritime area also have to cross the Turkish Straits to reach international markets. Therefore the importance of the Turkish Straits Turkey on the European doorstep


Turkey’s Geopolitical Position and its Role as an Energy Corridor

cannot be dissociated from the importance of the Black Sea maritime area when considered from the standpoint of energy security. The Russian Federation uses the Black Sea maritime area to increase the routes of its gas exports to Europe. The details of this subject are discussed in the section, “Turkey as an energy corridor.” The security of this area is of vital importance both for the recipient and supplier countries of oil and gas from this region; and Turkey is in a position to contribute to this security as will be explained below. b.

The Provisions of the Montreux Convention Defined by an international Convention signed in Montreux in 1936, the Black Sea has a unique status. This Convention makes a distinction between the rights of the littoral countries of the Black Sea and the rights of those non-littoral countries; its most important provisions limit the tonnage of the military vessels of the non-littoral countries and are summarized as follows: •

The tonnage, which any one non-Black Sea Power may have in the Black Sea, shall be limited to two-thirds of the aggregate tonnage of the strongest fleet in the Black Sea.

The aggregate tonnage of the vessels of the non-Black Sea Powers shall not exceed 30,000 tons.

This upper limit may be increased to 45,000 tons in case the tonnage of the strongest fleet in the Black Sea is increased above this figure.

Non-littoral countries are not allowed to keep their military vessels more than 21 days in the Black Sea.

The aim of these restrictions was not to discriminate between one set of countries and another, but to avoid a military confrontation in the Black Sea. This aim seems to have been achieved since the Black Sea has been spared from military confrontation despite the fact that it constituted the dividing line between two opposing military alliances, namely NATO and the Warsaw Pact, for several decades. 108


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The Montreux Convention was signed to extend for a period of 20 years; thus it would have expired in 1956 in the event that any of the signatories objected to its tacit renewal. Since no country took such an action, one may assume that the balance struck in 1936 between the rights of the littoral and non-littoral countries appeared reasonable. The provisions of the Montreux Convention came recently to the forefront during the Georgian crisis of August 2008: when the crisis broke out, the United States wanted to send a hospital ship of 69,000 tons to the Black Sea. When the relevant provisions of the Convention were brought to the attention of the United States, it did not insist and sent another ship within the allowed limits. Each year, Turkey, in its capacity as the country that controls the Straits leading to the Black Sea, presents a report to the parties of the Convention informing them of the movement of naval vessels that cross the Turkish Straits. In a way the Convention entrusts Tur key with the task of registrar for the proper implementation of the Convention. c.

Military cooperation in the Black Sea As far as security is concerned, one may talk of risks rather than threats in the Black Sea region. Littoral countries have the capacity to cope with these risks. There are two indigenous initiatives, both launched by Turkey, to address such risks: Blackseafor and Operation Black Sea Harmony. At present, these two initiatives are major security providers in the Black Sea maritime area. They are based on two pillars: a) the containment of all littoral countries; and b) the complementarity of maritime security to the Euro-Atlantic system, as such security is inseparable. The accession of Bulgaria and Romania to the European Union added a new dimension to the importance of the Black Sea maritime area, the Black Sea basin as a whole, and to the North-South axis. In this context, the role that the Black Sea could play in international

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politics transcends the limited geographical area of the coastal countries that surround it. Its role literally extends to the areas of Euro-Atlantic relations. It can affect the balance of power in the Caucasus region, including non-littoral countries like Armenia and Azerbaijan. It may also affect the power balance further away in the Middle East. Furthermore, the Black Sea geographical area, which was virtually ignored during the cold war era, has to be regarded now as an integral part of reconstructed Europe.

B. The Black Sea basin In a wider sense, the Black Sea basin is a vast geography including the territories of all littoral countries. It has a surface almost double that of the entire European continent. The role of the Black Sea region as an energy corridor and an area of suspended Cold War conflicts make it an important region from the military standpoint; but it also offers huge potentials for economic cooperation. 1. Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC) After the Soviet Union fell apart, Turkey took the initiative to organize regional economic cooperation with a view to reaping the advantages that the region offers. The Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC) that was established in March 1994 is the result of this initiative. It is the only indigenous initiative to capitalize on the new parameters emerging in the region after the fall of the Soviet Union; and it is the first example of an institutionalized and widely inclusive multilateral cooperation platform in the Black Sea region consisting of member countries with divergent economic and social experiences, as well as different visions and agenda for their future. BSEC was based on the idea that stronger economic cooperation among the Black Sea countries would enhance stability in the region by helping the member States achieve sustainable economic structures; and its institutional framework was set up with the underlying motive of integrating the region into the world economy. The Headquarters of the Permanent International Secretariat of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation is in Istanbul.



EURODIALOGUE Journal of International Relations, European, Economic and Social Studies

2. Black Sea Synergy The EU is quite interested in the region and more specifically in the activities of the BSEC. The European Commission developed a concept called Black Sea Synergy in its paper entitled Commission’s 2007 Enlargement Strategy Paper. On 10 July 2008, the European Parliament adopted a resolution based on the 2007 Enlargement Strategy Paper which makes a specific reference to the Black Sea region and more specifically to the BSEC. It reiterates the “importance of devising a more sophisticated and comprehensive EU Strategy for the Black Sea region that goes beyond the current synergy initiative and envisages the establishment of a Black Sea Cooperation Agreement, which should include the EU, Turkey, all Black Sea littoral States as equal partners, while seeking the full involvement of Russia, and which could, at a later stage, develop into a Union of the Black Sea countries.” The EU believes that such a multilateral framework would offer the countries involved the possibility of strengthening their cooperation with the EU across a wide variety of policy areas. 3. Suspended Cold War conflicts Another reason that makes this region important is the existence of several suspended conflicts. Though they have been referred to as “frozen conflicts” - referred to here as “suspended”- some of them are not entirely “frozen” or suspended, as they break out again from time to time. There are several common features in four suspended conflicts in the Black Sea basin, namely in Transnistria, Nogorno Karabakh, South Ossetia and Abkhazia. One of the common features is that they all resulted from the dismemberment of the Soviet Union. Second, all of them are within the territory of the former Soviet Union. Third, the Russian Federation is the major player in all of them. Only the conflict in Transnistria will be taken up in this section; the three others will be taken up under the section on the Caucasus. Trans-Dniester (Transnistria) The breakaway State of Trans-Dniester (Transnistria) was born when the Soviet Union began to fall apart. The Moldovan territories on the left bank of the river Dniester were inhabited by a mainly Russian-speaking population

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while those living on the Moldova proper spoke Moldovian and identified strongly with neighbouring Romania. This frightened the Russian-speaking population of Moldova on the left side of Dniester, who felt a much stronger allegiance to Moscow. As a result of this, Transnistria proclaimed its independence in 1990. The independence of this territory of 555,000 inhabitants is not recognized by any country. Without the diplomatic recognition of the international community, its sustainability as an independent state is questionable; and its annexation to the faraway Russian Federation would be neither easy nor practical. A solution that would satisfy both the Russian Federation and the remainder of the international community is not yet in sight. 4. Turkey’s role in the Black Sea basin Turkey is one of the major players in the Black Sea basin. It has the second longest coast line on the Black Sea after Ukraine. However, from the standpoint of the handling capacities of harbours on the Black Sea coast it is the largest, because the number of Turkish harbours on the Black Sea coast is by far greater than those of all other littoral countries. Furthermore, Turkey is the second largest military power in the Black Sea basin after the Russian Federation. It is a major NATO country. In light of these parameters, Turkey has the means to contribute to both military and economic cooperation in the Black Sea basin. C. The Caucasus The Caucasus has become one of the most volatile regions in close proximity to Europe. Three of the so-called “frozen” - or suspended—“conflicts” are in this region. Furthermore, its closeness to energy sources and energy routes is another reason for the region to be of concern. One of these areas of conflict, namely Nogorno Karabakh, is between Azerbaijan and Armenia; the two others, South Ossetia and Abkhazia, are between Georgia and its autonomous regions (ones that have declared their independence from Georgia.) However Russia, rather than the autonomous republics, has to be considered as the main interlocutor.



EURODIALOGUE Journal of International Relations, European, Economic and Social Studies

Turkey is engaged in Caucasian affairs because of its special relations with Azerbaijan, its close relations with Georgia, and its unsolved problems with Armenia. Furthermore there are sizeable Georgian and Abkhazian communities in Turkey. The number of ethnic Georgians and ethnic Abkhazians in Turkey are more than the Georgians and Abkhazians in their own respective countries. One fifth of the territory of Azerbaijan is occupied by Armenia. Turkey and Azerbaijan have close linguistic, cultural, and ethnic ties. These ties are sometimes described as “two States but one nation”; and is difficult for any Turkish government to turn a blind eye to the problems of Azerbaijan. This constitutes the main reason for the Turkish government closing its borders with Armenia after the Armenian army invaded seven provinces of Azerbaijan in early 1990s. 1. Nogorno-Karabakh This geographical region was an oblast within the territory of the Republic of Azerbaijan during the Soviet era. It has around 190,000 inhabitants. It is officially part of the Republic of Azerbaijan. It declared independence on 10 December 1991, but it is not recognized by any country including Armenia. However Armenia does not recognize its being part of Azerbaijan either, claiming that the region declared independence at the same time that Azerbaijan became an independent state and that both of them are, equally, successor states of the Soviet Union. This approach contradicts several international resolutions: a.

Three UN Security Council Resolutions (853, 874, and 884) and two UN General Assembly resolutions (49/13 and 57/298) refer to Nagorno-Karabakh “as a region of Azerbaijan.”


A Council of Europe resolution states that “the territory of Azerbaijan includes the Nagorno-Karabakh region.” Another Council resolution states that “Considerable parts of the territory of Azerbaijan are still oc cupied by Armenian forces.” The resolution further states that “the oc cupation of foreign territory by a member state constitutes a grave violation of that state’s obligations as a member of the Council of Europe.” Turkey on the European doorstep


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The EU has declared that “it does not recognize the independence of Nagorno Karabakh. The European Union cannot consider legitimate the ‘presidential elections’ that were scheduled to take place on 11 August 2002 in Nagorno Karabakh.”


The US State Department issued a report where it stated that “Armenia continues to occupy the Azerbaijani territory of NagornoKarabakh and seven surrounding Azerbaijani territories.”

Despite the unequivocal position of all major international organizations, no concrete step has been taken to resolve the dispute. This conflict kept Armenia outside of at least three regional economic cooperation projects: 1) the Baku-Tbilissi-Ceyhan oil pipeline project; 2) the Baku-Tbilissi-Erzurum gas pipeline project; and 3) the Kars-Baku railway project. Despite the fact that the shortest routes for the first two projects were through Armenia, Azerbaijan did not want to pump its oil and gas through a country that occupies one fifth of its territory; and despite the fact that there is already an existing railway that links Azerbaijan to Turkey through Armenia, Turkey and Azerbaijan decided to construct a new railroad that circumvents Armenian territory. Armenia could have benefited to a great extent from these projects if the conditions were suitable for its participation in them. 2. South Ossetia South Ossetia was an autonomous oblast of Georgia during Soviet times. The Republic of South Ossetia declared its independence from Georgia in 1990. The Georgian government responded by abolishing South Ossetia’s autonomy and trying to retake the region by force. On 6 December 2006, the OSCE Ministerial Council supported the Georgian peace plan though it was subsequently rejected by the South Ossetian de facto authorities. One might speculate that the Ossetian authorities could not have done this without the support of Russian authorities. On April of 2007, the Georgian government created a temporary administrative unit (Provisional Administrative Entity of South Ossetia) for this territory of 70,000 inhabitants. On 8 August 2008, the Russian Federation, using as a pretext a military move on the part of Georgia, invaded South Ossetia and recognized its independence. 114


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Turkey’s means to contribute to the solution of the South Ossetia problem is limited because it has no leverage with regard to the parties involved. 3. Abkhazia Abkhazia is recognized as an autonomous republic of Georgia. It has a population that dwindled from 550,000 in 2002 to 190,000 in 2007. Only 18% of this population is Abkhazian. The secessionist movement of Abkhaz ethnic minority declared independence from Georgia in 1992. An armed conflict broke out in 1992 and 1993 between the de facto independent entity and Georgia; and with the military assistance of the Russian army, the Abkhazians forced the Georgian army to retreat resulting in ethnic cleansing and a mass exodus of Georgian population from Abkhazia. The Georgian crisis of 8 August 2008 also resulted in the recognition by Russia of Abkhazia’s independence. Each suspended conflict in the areas enumerated above is shaped by different parameters. The solution applicable to one of them may not be valid for another. However we may say that 1) the political will of the major players is not strong enough to place the resolution of these conflicts high on the agenda; and 2) no progress can be made to resolve these conflicts without the cooperation of the Russian Federation. 4. The Platform for Cooperation and Stability in the Caucasus After the Georgian crisis of August 2008, Turkey launched an initiative called “The Platform for Cooperation and Stability in the Caucasus.” This initiative does not aim at substituting for any existing organization, forum or platform. Rather, it is complementary to them. Subjects that cannot be discussed in other fora may be brought to this forum; and the advantage of the forum lies in the fact that it comprises only the Caucasus countries that have a direct stake in the region, namely Turkey, the Russian Federation, Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia. In other words there will not be any exogenous participation in the platform, as it was thought that exogenous participation would carry the risk of diluting the subjects of cooperation with inputs that would be alien to the region. Countries of the region are the

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ones who will benefit from any advantages accruing from the cooperation and who will suffer from any failure in their cooperation. Russia, Azerbaijan and Armenia have already extended their support to the initiative. Georgia had misgivings at the initial stage on the grounds that it could not sit around the same table with a country that occupies its territory. This was not a convincing reason since both Georgia and Russia were sitting around the same table in BSEC. The support of Armenia for a project launched by Turkey was welcomed with appreciation in Turkey. This “football diplomacy” must have played a positive role with respect to Armenia’s attitude, for the outcome has been positive both for Turkish-Armenian bilateral relations and for the success of the platform initiative. D. The Middle East Turkey has had its back turned towards the Middle East for years. Indeed, this was a deviation from the policy initiated by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk. Turkey was the promoter of other initiatives in the Middle East in 1930s, such as the Sadabad Pact signed in 1937 between Turkey, Iran, Afghanistan and Iraq; but, the policy of active engagement in the Middle East was interrupted by the outbreak of the Second World War. After the war, Turkey and some Middle Eastern countries found themselves on the opposing sides in the Cold War era; and, until the dismemberment of the Soviet Union, this made meaningful cooperation among the countries of the region quite difficult. The Middle East continues to be one of the most volatile regions in the world. To the best of its ability, Turkey contributed to the reestablishment of peace and stability and the democratization process in Iraq. It remains to be seen whether this country will see the end of several turbulent and painful years during which the Iraqi people paid a very heavy toll. Iran seems undeterred in continuing its nuclear enrichment program. Iran with nuclear technology and the strengthened role of Shia in Iraq will definitely upset the power balance in the Middle East with incalculable consequences. Turkey’s attitude towards the nuclear program of Iran could be summarized as follows: all countries have the right to acquire nuclear



EURODIALOGUE Journal of International Relations, European, Economic and Social Studies

technology for peaceful purposes. Neither Iran nor any other country in the region should acquire nuclear weapons. Diplomacy should be given priority to dissuade Iran from acquiring weapon-grade enriched uranium; in fact, Turkey is the country that will be most affected by Iranâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s acquisition of nuclear weapons. Against all advice of from its allies in the West, Israel continues to turn a deaf ear to pleas to refrain from disproportionate use of force against the Palestinians and from the construction of new settlements beyond 1967 lines. Opposition to this policy is also building up both in Israel and in the Jewish Diaspora in the United States. Indirect talks between Israel and Syria, where Turkey served as go-between, are stalled as a result of the bombing and occupation of Gaza on 3 January 2009. Relations with Syria, on the other hand, have rapidly evolved in the right direction in recent years. In 1998, Turkey almost sent troops into Syria to force it to expel Abdullah Ocalan, the head of the PKK terrorist organization. Syria cooperated with this expulsion. This began a complicated process whereby Ocalan was captured with the tacit tolerance of the Greek Embassy in Nairobi and brought to justice in Turkey. As a result of this and other developments, the relations between Turkey and Syria improved in 2009 to the level of a lifting of the reciprocal visa obligation. The relations between Turkey and the various Middle Eastern countries have placed Turkey in a particularly good position to contribute to the peace and stability of the region because: 1) it understands the mentality of the peoples of the region; 2) it enjoys the trust of both sides in various conflicts in the region; 3) it is part of the Islamic world as are all of the Middle Eastern countries; and, 4) it has means to use its soft power to contribute to both peace and stability and the solution of conflicts in the region. E. The Balkans Turkey is actively engaged in Balkan affairs not only because of their historical Ottoman background, but also because of Turkeyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s geographical proximity and the existence of Turkish speaking communities in many Balkan countries. As a result, Turkey took active part in NATO operations in Serbia.

Turkey on the European doorstep


Turkeyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Geopolitical Position and its Role as an Energy Corridor

It contributes police and military contingents to international peace efforts in Bosnia, Herzegovina, and Kosovo. More recently, it has started to use its soft power to broker normalization of relations between Serbia and BosniaHerzegovina. The existence of ethnic Turks in many Balkan countries affects the relations between Turkey and these countries in a manner that varies from one country to the other. Every effort should be made to transform the existence of such communities and create a bridge that could help strengthen bilateral relations and make their presence an asset rather than a liability. Turkeyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s relations with Greece have to be considered from a wider perspective, because these two countries are NATO allies; democratic institutions have been in place for a relatively longer time in both countries and they are neighbours. None of the disputes between Turkey and Greece are insurmountable, although some are hostage to strong nationalistic feelings that are exploited for domestic political purposes. School curricula continue to depict a negative image of the other side. However larger groups and important economic actors fewer problems understanding and appreciating each other; and a strong political will could pave the way for the gradual elimination of existing disputes. Steps have been made recently in this direction. It remains to be seen whether these overtures will succeed this time. If they do, tremendous potential will be released for cooperation on bilateral, regional, and global issues. Transforming the Aegean into a sea of peace will not only increase the welfare of the people of both countries, but it will also have spill-over effects in the entire Eastern Mediterranean and perhaps the Middle East. Turkeyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s relations with Bulgaria have unfolded in an exemplary manner. In the 1980s the Jivkov regime instituted a very harsh assimilation policy that forced ethnic Turks living in Bulgaria, at gunpoint, to change their Muslim names into Christian names. However this policy was soon abandoned and ethnic Turks have now begun to build a strong bridge of friendship between Turkey and Bulgaria.



EURODIALOGUE Journal of International Relations, European, Economic and Social Studies

F. Central Asia Central Asia is a vast geographical area that encompasses the territories of Kazakhstan (a country as vast as one quarter of the entire European continent with an area of 2.5 million square kilometres), Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. Among other reasons, these countries are important because they are in transition from the communist era to the postSoviet era, because they are rich in mineral or hydrocarbon reserves, they are unstable, or because they are located in areas where the interests of major world powers clash. Turkish presence in this region is either within the framework of cultural cooperation, such as in the case of the “Union of Turkic Republics,” within the framework of economic organizations such as ECO (Economic Cooperation Organization, an organization which includes Turkey, Iran, Azerbaijan, Pakistan and Afghanistan as well as the aforementioned five central Asian countries), within the Islamic Conference Organization, or because some Turkish businessmen are strongly entrenched in the economic life of several countries of the region. Turkey is in a better position to understand the mentality of the peoples of these countries and to communicate with them because of cultural and linguistic affinities.

III – Turkey’s multiple identities Is Turkey is a Middle Eastern or a Balkan country? This question implies that a country may have only one single regional, cultural or political identity, whereas it may have more than that. In fact Turkey has several identities. It is a Middle Eastern country; it is a Balkan country; it is a Caucasian country. Its ancestors have come from Central Asia, and it has strong ties with Central Asia. It is part and parcel of the Islamic world (the Secretary General of the Islamic Conference Organisation is a Turk.) It is a major Black Sea country; it is Mediterranean country. It took a decisive part in the shaping of the history of Europe, sometimes being in military conflict with various European countries, sometimes as the friend of one or other European country seeking alliance with the Ottomans against another European country. It is a country currently negotiating with the European Union for full membership. It is a secular country with a predominantly Muslim population, Turkey on the European doorstep


Turkeyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Geopolitical Position and its Role as an Energy Corridor

embracing universal values as do all European countries; it is part of the same value system with European countries. Together with Spain, it is the co-chairman of the Alliance of Civilisations. It is an important member of NATO. It is the founding member of the Council of Europe; it is a member of the OECD. Turkey is the sixth biggest economy in Europe and seventeenth largest economy in the world. These multiple identities and its economic size, in addition to its important geopolitical location, make Turkey a special player on the world chess board.

IV - Turkey as an energy corridor A. Oil reserves of the Caspian Sea and Gulf basins A new and important factor has now been added to the role that Turkey has played so far because of the features described above. This new element is key to the increasing need for energy in European countries. Map-3 below shows the countries East of Turkey that possess oil and natural gas reserves, with 72% of the worldâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s oil and gas reserves in this region. Table-1 shows the distribution of these reserves among the countries of the region. MAP-3: Oil and gas reserves in the countries East of Turkey



EURODIALOGUE Journal of International Relations, European, Economic and Social Studies

B. EUâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s demand for gas Europe is the second largest oil and gas market in the world. Many European countries receive the natural gas they consume from Russia. They have suffered in recent years from the disruption of the gas supply during critical months of the year because of the bilateral conflicts between Russia and transit countries, namely Ukraine and Belarus. These disruptions forced both Russia and the consumers of Russian gas to diversify the routes through which the gas would be carried. On the other hand, some EU countries are over-dependent on Russian natural gas with as high as 70 or more per cent of their consumption coming from that single source. This has led them to look for ways to diversify not only the routes of energy but also the sources of energy. It is in light of these two requirements for diversification that the Turkey option comes forward. Turkey is located in between the main hydrocarbon reserves of the world, on the one hand, and a major consumer of hydrocarbon, namely Europe, on the other (Map-4). It may contribute to the diversification of both the sources of energy and routes of energy, because Turkey is not major oil and gas producing country. It imports oil and gas from five different countriesâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;namely Iraq, Iran, Azerbaijan, Russia and Egypt. This does not mean that all oil and gas has to be transported through Turkey. Other routes do exist and they are being fully utilized. In fact a sizeable part of Russian gas consumed by the member countries of the EU are transported through pipelines laid on the North of the Black Sea. These routes will continue to be utilized in addition to other routes. At present, the EU consumes around 530 billion cubic meters of gas per year.

Turkey on the European doorstep


Turkeyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Geopolitical Position and its Role as an Energy Corridor

Table-1 Countries

Oil reserves (billion barrel)

Gas reserves ( trillion cubic meter)





















U. Arab Emirates


Saudi Arabia Egypt

3.2 25.6





Estimates vary regarding future need; however, it is safe to say that towards 2025 - 2030 an additional quantity of 300 billion cubic meters of gas will be needed on the EU market. The EU will meet this demand from various sources. For the sake of diversification it is expected that one third of this demand may be supplied through Turkey. Therefore one may also speculate that around 100 billion cubic meters of gas will have to be shipped to EU countries through Turkey in the next 15 to 20 years. In the short to medium term this requirement may stay around 40 billion cubic meters. Turkeyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s oil and gas transport infrastructure is being developed to meet this requirement. Existing and prospective oil and gas pipelines are already in place in Turkey. C. Existing pipelines in Turkey 1. The Russia-Turkey gas pipeline (Turusgas) A pipeline carrying Russian gas to Turkey through Ukraine, Moldova, Romania and Bulgaria has been operational since 1988. Initially it had the capacity to pump 8 billion cubic meters of gas per year. In 1996, this capacity was increased to 14 billion cubic meters per year.



EURODIALOGUE Journal of International Relations, European, Economic and Social Studies

2. The Blue Stream gas pipeline A gas pipeline called Blue Stream crosses the Black Sea. This pipeline was laid on the seabed and has a capacity to carry 16 billion cubic meters of gas per year. The offshore part of it runs 3,996 kilometres from a point south of Novorossiisk in the Russian Federation to the Turkish Black Sea port of Samsun. 3. The Baku-Tbilissi-Ceyhan Oil Pipeline This pipeline is 1,760 km. long and carries Azeri oil through Georgia to the Turkish Mediterranean harbour of Ceyhan. The shortest route for this pipeline was through Armenia. However because of the unsolved conflict over Nogorno-Karabakh, Azerbaijan did not agree to have its oil be shipped through Armenian territory. The pipeline has been in operation since 2006. It has the capacity to carry 50 million tons of oil per year and provides approximately 1.5 % of the worldâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s oil supply. MAP-4: Turkey as a corridor between oil producing and oil consuming countries

4. The Kirkuk-Iskenderun Oil Pipeline This is the oldest pipeline in Turkey. It has been in operation since 1976. It carries Iraqi oil from Kirkuk to the Turkish Mediterranean harbour of Iskenderun (Ceyhan). Its total length is 986 km and it has a maximum carrying capacity of 70.9 million tons of oil per year. Turkey on the European doorstep


Turkeyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Geopolitical Position and its Role as an Energy Corridor

5. The Baku-Tbilissi-Erzurum Gas Pipeline This 915 km long pipeline has been in operation since July 2007; and it carries the natural gas of the Shah Deniz gas fields in Azerbaijan to the Eastern Anatolian city of Erzurum where it joins the Iran-Turkey gas pipeline. It has been in operation since July 2007. It has a maximum carrying capacity of 20 billion cubic meters of gas per year. 6. The Iran-Turkey Gas Pipeline This pipeline carries Iranian natural gas to the Eastern Turkish city of Erzurum. It starts in the Western city of Tabriz in Iran and ends in Ankara. It is 2,577 km long and has been in operation since July 2001. It carries 11 billion cubic meters of gas per year. 7. The Arab Gas Pipeline Another pipeline is under construction and nearing the Turkish border. It carries Egyptian gas from El-Arish in Egypt to Turkey through Jordan and Syria. It has a total length of 1,200 km. The construction of the pipeline will be complete at the Syrian city of Hamah and it is scheduled to be connected to the Turkish grid in 2011. It has a carrying capacity of 10 billion cubic meters of gas per year. Turkey will buy 1.2 billion cubic meters and the remainder will go to Nabucco. 8. The Interconnector: Turkey-Greece-Italy In addition to the incoming pipelines to Turkey there is also one outgoing pipeline from Turkey to Greece and from there to Italy. The Turkey-Greece part of this pipeline has been in operation since 2007; and it started by carrying 700 million cubic meters of gas per year. This volume will be increased to 3 billion cubic meters in the years to come. The total carrying capacity of the pipeline is 12 billion cubic meters; therefore 9 billion cubic meters of gas will be destined to make the Italy stretch. The pipeline will cross the Adriatic Sea from Igoumenitsa in Greece to Lecce in Italy. When the Greece-Italy part of the pipeline is completed in 2013, it will have a total length of 808 km (Map-5).



EURODIALOGUE Journal of International Relations, European, Economic and Social Studies

MAP-5: Interconnector Turkey-Greece-Italy

D. Prospective pipelines Apart from the above mentioned and existing pipelines there other pipelines at various stages of construction. Some of them are at the preparatory stage; some others are still only at the conceptual stage. 1. Gas Pipeline This project is at the progam stage: an intergovernmental agreement was signed in 2009 in Ankara. The project is called Nabucco, because the idea of constructing this pipeline was first discussed after the initiators watched Verdiâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Nabucco Opera at the Vienna Opera House. The pipeline will cross five countriesâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;Turkey, Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary and Austria (Map-6). It will start from the Eastern provinces of Turkey because the major part of the gas will have to come from Azerbaijan and Iran. It will have a total length of 3,300 km, 2,000 km of which will be in Turkey. It will have a carrying capacity of 31 billion cubic meters of gas per year. The gas that will be carried is not yet secured. Azerbaijan has promised to provide gas from its reserves along the coasts of the Caspian Sea; however, the capacity of the reserves in that area is not sufficient to fill the pipeline completely. Therefore other sources are required. Iran could be one of the alternative sources. However the restriction imposed on Iran, not to invest more than 20 million dollars in this country, limits ability of the initiators. Other sources that may substitute for Iran are Turkmenistan if the question of crossing the Caspian Sea is solved, Iraq, or Qatar. Russia plans to construct an additional pipeline, South Stream, that will carry gas through a pipeline laid across the Black Sea from Dzhubga on the Eastern Black Sea coast of Russia to the Bulgarian coastal city of Varna. Some observers see it as a rival to Nabucco. However, this observation does not Turkey on the European doorstep


Turkey’s Geopolitical Position and its Role as an Energy Corridor

hold in light of the data mentioned above, because EU’s additional need for gas in the coming years amounts to hundreds of billions of cubic meters, whereas the capacity of Nabucco is 31 billion cubic meters; and that of the South Stream is only 10 billion cubic meters. Therefore several South Streams and several Nabuccos are needed to meet the EU’s shortfall in gas. MAP-6: Nabucco Project

2. The Trans-Caspian gas pipeline project This project will carry 30 billion cubic meters of gas from Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan by crossing the Caspian Sea with a pipeline laid on the sea bed. Sixteen billion cubic meters of the gas will be destined for Turkey and the remaining 14 billion will go to EU countries. The Kazakh branch of the pipeline will start from the Kazakh city of Atyrau in the Northern coast of the Caspian Sea, cross the Caspian Sea to Baku and then run parallel to the existing Baku-Tbilissi-Erzurum pipeline. The Turkmen branch will start from Turkmenbashi, cross the Caspian Sea to Baku, and follow the same route as the existing Baku-Tbilissi-Erzurum pipeline. 3. The Samsun-Ceyhan Oil pipeline project This project will run from the Turkish Black Sea harbour of Samsun to the Mediterranean city of Ceyhan and will aim to decrease the oil tanker traffic through the Turkish Straits. It will carry 55 million tons of oil per year. It will



EURODIALOGUE Journal of International Relations, European, Economic and Social Studies

be 551 km long. Three point seven per cent of the worldâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s oil transports are carried through the Turkish straits. Any mishap in the traffic of the Turkish straits would constitute a serious hazard for a metropolis like Istanbul with its more than 16 million inhabitants and would have an important impact on the worldâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s oil supply. Samsun-Ceyhan is designed to alleviate this heavy traffic. 4. Iraq-Turkey gas pipeline project As it was mentioned earlier, Iraq has 3.2 trillion cubic meters in natural gas. It is expected that these reserves will be utilized when political stability is established in Iraq. Map-7 shows all exiting and prospective oil and gas pipelines in Turkey. MAP-7: All oil and gas pipelines in Turkey

Turkey on the European doorstep


Turkey’s Geopolitical Position and its Role as an Energy Corridor

E. Electricity Electricity differs from other sources of energy in the sense that it is not economical to use another country’s territory as a corridor to transfer electric power. It makes sense only in the case that the power grid of a country is connected to the grid of a neighbouring country. Common standards and compatible equipment are needed for two neighbouring countries to interconnect their power grids. The interconnection of power grids would allow neighbouring countries to import or export power one from the other. It might allow another type of cooperation mutually beneficial to them: •

Electricity authorities of various countries have to keep up to 15 - 20% of their power generation capacity in reserve for cases of emergency. However this percentage goes down when a country’s power grid is interconnected with the power grid of another country, because power cuts are not likely to occur at the same time in all interconnected countries.

Weekly, national or religious holidays may be on different days in many neighbouring countries that interconnect their power grids. Therefore the surplus power of one country could be utilized by another interconnected country whose requirement of power re mains unchanged because of holidays on different dates.

Working hours or peak and low consumption hours may be different in the interconnected countries. This would allow the consumption of surplus power saved because of low consumption by the other interconnected country.

Turkey’s Southern neighbours and especially the Gulf countries are interested in generating power from power stations run with oil and gas, to keep the added value in their own country and to export electricity instead of oil or gas. If this project materializes, the most economical transmission corridor will again be Turkey. If solar energy becomes economical in the long run, the Middle East especially Saudi Arabia—possesses almost unlimited solar energy potential. Indeed, Turkey’s eastern neighbours are countries that can generate power at relatively low cost because they are oil or gas rich or possess high hydroelectric potential like Georgia.



EURODIALOGUE Journal of International Relations, European, Economic and Social Studies

MAP-8: Interconnection of power grid of Turkey

Map-8 shows the physical integration of the Turkish electricity market with that of the EU by 2010 as well as with its neighbouring countries. An agreement to interconnect the power grids of seven countries is already in place among Turkey, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt and Libya. Thus cooperation with Turkey may also be of interest in this area of energy. V - Conclusion Turkey is located in a geopolitically sensitive area. Its multiple identities, its young and dynamic population, its hard and soft powers are important assets that could be utilized for the benefit of peace and stability in the region. The energy routes that criss-cross Turkey are additional factors that enable it to contribute to the welfare of Europe. Turkey does not claim that its cooperation is indispensable in order for Western countries to take an initiative in the region. Neither is it necessary to cooperate with Turkey in order to establish any type of presence in the region. However, by cooperating with Turkey, the EU or the West in general may achieve its goals in the region with less financial resources, with less human resources, with less acrimony and with more efficiency.

Turkey on the European doorstep


The EU in the International Arena and the Role of Turkey IOANNIS KASOULIDES* Introduction Only 20 years after the end of the Cold War, the world stage has evolved at a much faster pace than expected. The US predominance has lasted only a moment in world history; and, since the beginning of the new century, what we are witnessing is the steady evolution of a multipolar system characterized by the emergence of new centers of gravity in Asia and Latin America. The economic and geopolitical map is radically changing and the recent financial crisis has contributed to these changes. The “triad” of US-EU-Japan is losing its relative importance vis-à-vis new economical and political powers now becoming global actors, in particular the BRIC countries - Brazil, Russia, India and China. Indeed, the influence of emerging economies on world affairs is steadily growing. They have great economic potential accounting for 15% of the world economy, comprising 42% of the global population, and composed of 26% of the world’s landmass. The world itself has become more and more integrated and interdependent, not only economically but also in the sense that global problems have now come to light - or if they have always existed, at least now we are much more aware of them and their global implications. Furthermore, because they are global, they require global cooperation in order to be set right. The economic crisis, the tectonic changes in the Arab World, nuclear safety, climate change, energy security and supply, international terrorism and piracy and the supply of raw materials must be added to the list of longstanding issues that the international community has been facing, such as the Middle East Peace Process and the Iranian Nuclear Program. The EU is in principle and substance a natural supporter of effective multilateralism on the world stage, based on the solid belief that many issues, such as the ones just referred to, cannot be solved unilaterally or without coordination. *


Member of the European Parliament. Vice-President, EPP Group. Former Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Cyprus (1997-2003).

EURODIALOGUE Journal of International Relations, European, Economic and Social Studies

It is this principle that underpins the EU´s commitment to support and strengthen the role of multilateral organizations such as the United Nations and the World Trade Organization. In parallel, the EU has decided to strengthen and deepen its relationship with key partners on the world stage and has thus concluded “strategic partnerships” with the United States of America, the Russian Federation, Japan, Canada, India, China, Brazil, Mexico and South Africa. In addition, European Leaders understand that an EU that aspires to play an important role on the new world stage should first and foremost adapt itself to the demands of this new and complex environment. The Europeanization of national policies gaining in pace since the early nineties, the EU enlargement, and the steady development of the CFSP and ESDP were concrete steps towards a more coherent, robust and effective EU foreign policy. The great need for an institutional self-upgrade, in particular for granting the EU a single voice in the international arena, was finally accomplished with the enactment of the Lisbon Treaty, rightfully considered a cornerstone in the history of European integration. Even the EU´s most severe critic could hardly argue that the EU did not succeed in the bulk of the challenges it had set for itself. However, it would be equally wrong for one to overlook the EU´s critical weaknesses as an actor on the global stage. The recent and ongoing revolutionary wave in the Arab World is a case in point, as it has already exposed the EU´s tardy reaction and lagging steps in reaching and defending a common position on the events in its very neighborhood. It is indeed hard to ignore the widespread disappointment from this failed, first test of the EU’s foreign policy in the post Lisbon era and of the extensively advertised “one voice” in the EU’s external policies that the new Treaty was supposed to bring about. Not only was the EU unprepared for these developments, it was also reluctant to react in a robust and coherent manner towards them. Instead of immediately supporting the democratic aspirations of the Arab people, quite a few member states saw this extraordinary situation as an exercise in realpolitik, while the High Representative sounded at times lukewarm and obviously constrained by the member states’ lowest common denominator.

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The EU in the International Arena and the Role of Turkey

Turkey during the last decade After a three-digit inflation in the nineties, open military interference in politics, a vicious conflict with ethnic Kurdish insurgents, and a decision on the part of the EU in Helsinki, Turkey became a candidate country to join the Union. With the help of the EU, the US, the IMF, and a number of constitutional and civic rights reforms between 1999 and 2002, Turkey not only recovered but after the AKP took power in 2002, it managed to become an emerging economic power, ranking 16th in the world. It secured a seat among the G20 and a seat at the Security Council for the 2009/2010 period. Turkey witnessed an impressive acceleration of growth rate, brought down the inflation from 45% to single digits in 2009, multiplied by more than five times the amount of foreign investments in the country. Its exports rose from 36 billion dollars in 2002 to 132 billion dollars in 2008. Despite the international economic crisis its GDP continued growing. These successes under the AKP government were not only due to good governance but also to a new foreign policy which is less ideological than pragmatic, by introducing a â&#x20AC;&#x153;zero problemsâ&#x20AC;? policy with its neighbours, and allowing investments, trade, export technology and the installation of Turkish enterprises among its eastern neighbours. The first period in this new foreign policy saw an amelioration of relations with Greece and Georgia; and since the ending of the Cold War some time ago, Turkey expanded its activities into the Black Sea region, its back yard. Russia has become one of its leading trade partners. What is even more remarkable is the combination of ideology and pragmatism for an opening into the Arab world, towards Syria, Lebanon, Jordan and Libya, but also with Iran; a new foreign policy which provoked the acclaim of Turkey as a champion of the Muslim World, a moderate Islamic Government which became an outspoken supporter of the Palestinian cause, at a time when prior to the uprising, Arab regimes appeared to be more complacent and more hesitant out of fear of undermining their relations with the USA. Southeastern Turkey flourished economically from the trade and interactions taking place along its borders with Syria and Iran.



EURODIALOGUE Journal of International Relations, European, Economic and Social Studies

This foreign policy which was never dissociated from economic and trade considerations, allowed Turkey to play the role of a regional power with all needed prestige, to mediate between Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia, between Israel and Syria on the Golan Heights, between Fatah and Hamas and on the effort to resolve the issue of Iran’s capability to acquire nuclear weapons, leading to the famous deal in which Brazil, the other emerging power, joined as participant. However this imaginative and creative foreign policy, instrumental to Turkey’s economic success, subsequently started to encounter major setbacks. Championing the Palestinian cause has created problems with Israel, despite the desire of Ankara to maintain good relations with both. The outburst of Prime Minister Erdogan towards Shimon Peres in Davos and then the Mavi Marmara flotilla incident not only brought the relations with Israel to a very bad turn, it also raised eyebrows in the American Jewish Community and tarnished Turkey’s image as an honest broker mediating between Syria and Israel. (The latter seems to have led to nowhere.) Equally unsuccessful was the mediation between Fatah and Hamas, finally achieved by post-Mubarak Egypt. The agreement between Iran-Turkey and Brazil came at a moment when the permanent five on the Security Council, after considerable effort to convince Russia and China, were about to agree on sanctions against the Iran regime. It was a decision that had to proceed as the Turkey and Brazil-brokered deal was not stopping Iran’s move towards nuclear weapons. The Arab spring uprising is dramatically changing the content of Turkish foreign policy; Turkey is still teetering as to its direction. Some observers initially thought that after all, it would not be such a bad idea to see a democratically elected Islamic Government coming to power in Tunisia and Egypt, as they are as moderate as the AKP. Suddenly Turkey looked like a model, an example. For Turkey, this would have been a new asset for its policy towards the Arab World. However secular forces in Tunisia and Egypt are too strong and too scared to accept such a development; and the Turkish model for them is not an example to imitate but an example to avoid. Regarding the developments in Syria, after some hesitation, Prime Minister Erdogan took the courageous decision to openly condemn the lethal violence and repression that the regime is using against its own people, despite the Turkey on the European doorstep


The EU in the International Arena and the Role of Turkey

relationship that Turkey has build with the Assad regime. The final outcome of the uprising in Syria will be directly related to the Syria-Turkey relationship in the future. Two more serious setbacks to the “zero problems” foreign policy in Turkey are Turkey’s change of mind to proceed with the agreement to normalize of relations with Armenia, and of course Cyprus. It is not my intention to enumerate here the win-win situation for Turkeyfor both communities in Cyprus and in the EU there should be a comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus Problem - but I will speak about the state of negotiations of the process of Turkish accession to European Union. This process is currently stalled as the only available chapters to open which will sustain the process, like the Competition Chapter, are not opening because Turkey considers them as costly, and would be opened only if Turkey had guarantees that the end result would be the final full membership. The steadfast Turkish refusal to extend the Ankara Protocol to include Cyprus has resulted in the unanimous freezing of eight Chapters in 2006 and since this refusal continues, in 2009 Cyprus blocked in another six Chapters because there was no conformity with the unanimous counter-declaration of the Council of September 2005. In the meantime Turkey has vetoed the convening of political dialogue between NATO and the EU because on the EU side the RoC will be sitting at the table. Consequently, Cyprus is blocking any participation of Turkey on the European Defence Agency. Both actions are very detrimental to the proper functioning of relations between NATO and the EU as there are important decisions that need to be made at the political level, and also for the proper functioning of ESDP. Efforts to resolve the dispute, based on ideas for the new strategic idea of NATO, failed during the latest summit in Lisbon because Turkey refused to accept such an arrangement. Despite the fact that Turkey’s orientation, vocation, and the majority of its trade and economic relations are oriented towards the EU, relations are becoming difficult as each side sees matters in a different way.



EURODIALOGUE Journal of International Relations, European, Economic and Social Studies

The Turkish narrative is the following: • How is the European Union, for the sake of a small country of half a million people like Cyprus, allowing paralysis of the accession negotiations with a country of 65 million people, a regional power with so many achievements (as stated above) whose accession will carry with it all the aforementioned? • How is the RoC allowed to block the participation of Turkey, the largest NATO army in Europe and a Member of the Alliance, in the European Defence Agency? • Turkey also complains that in the accession process they are treated unfairly, very differently than Croatia who will soon join, or countries like Romania and Bulgaria. • It maintains that if the EU were sincere in wanting to see Turkey joining the EU, they should bypass these obstacles, and the ball is in the hands of the EU. The answers If the argument about half a million people and 65 million people is valid then why must a nation of 65 million people and a regional power with so many achievements go through such trouble in its stance towards the RoC and the Ankara Protocol for the sake of 100,000 Turkish Cypriots in Cyprus? The true argument here is that the EU functions on principles and has to fully observe the rules of the Customs Union agreement and the need to extend the Ankara Protocol to all its member states without exception. How come the largest army in NATO was put in a second place by NATO interests? just by blocking the political dialogue with the EU because the RoC will be sitting at the table on the EU side, while at the intergovernmental conference in the accession negotiations the RoC sits there anyway? With regard to the prospect of the accession of Turkey, the EU remains an outward looking Union, treating all countries with European aspirations which fulfil the Copenhagen criteria and wish to join in the same way. The candidate country must fulfil the acquis and show that it is implementing it. The Union must also be prepared to absorb a given enlargement both institutionally, economically and politically. Croatia is a small country comTurkey on the European doorstep


The EU in the International Arena and the Role of Turkey

pared to Turkey; and its absorption into the Union at the present time is negligible. An enlargement to include a country the size of Turkey is a huge enterprise and the present situation inside the EU has to improve tremendously before it becomes able to accommodate Turkey. Besides all the weaknesses that I mentioned in the EU’s “one voice” foreign policy, these will be further accentuated with the eventual accession of Turkey to the EU. Their distinct—and for Turkey very important —foreign policy would be yet another cacophonous voice, as was demonstrated regarding the sanctions for Iran, the treatment of Hamas, or the difficulties agreeing on NATO involvement in Libya. It must be made clear that the EU has no imperialistic aspirations, nor is it trying to woo countries. It is the other way around. Neither is the enlargement a merger but an accession process based on rules laid down by the EU alone and according to EU principles



Turkey: A “Strategic Partner” or a “Regional Power” MARIA ELENI KOPPA* Introduction Our notion of Europe is outdated. Since the 1990’s we share a mental map of Europe divided amongst laggards and frontrunners on their way to Europe (Noutcheva & Bechev 2008, Ekiert et al. 2007, Fish & Choudry 2007, Pop-Eleches 2007), with regular reports being compiled by the Commission to mark their progress or lack thereof. This perception is no longer in touch with realities on the ground for two reasons: •

first, because the project of European Integration is no longer uncontested;

secondly, because states in the wider European neighborhood, including Turkey, are discovering that there are viable economic and political alternatives to EU membership.

For several decades Turkey pursued the project of European Integration with unwavering commitment. By the signature of associate membership with the European Communities in 1963, by the submission of a formal application in 1987, by the signature of a Custom’s Union Agreement in 1995, by the formal recognition of Turkey’s candidate status in 1999, and by the opening of formal negotiations in 2005, Turkey has been made to believe that membership remains a viable prospect. This prospect is now uncertain, not only in Brussels but, perhaps more significantly, in Ankara. In recent years, European conservative forces have no qualms about using culturally reductionist arguments, openly pronouncing Turkey’s culture and Muslim identity as barriers to accession. Such arguments are clearly responsive to prevalent racist perceptions of Turkish people as the servants of Europe, along with Italians, Yugoslavs, Greeks and Portuguese, which can be traced back to the 1960s. During the golden era of Fordist Capitalism, Turkey signed bilateral labour migration agreements with Germany (1961), *

Member of the European Parliament. Vice-President, EU - Turkey Joint Parliamentary Committee of the European Parliament.


Turkey: A “Strategic Partner” or a “Regional Power”

the Netherlands (1964), Belgium (1965), France (1967), and Sweden (1967). The heritage of Fordist migration regimes is a clearly identifiable, with a socially marginalized, ethnically and religiously distinct working class, located in the suburbs of every European metropolis. Thus the stereotype of Turkish guest workers has been evoked by populist parties in Europe who seek scapegoats for structural unemployment and urban criminality; this discourse gained further legitimacy by centre-stage politicians in Germany, France, Denmark and the Netherlands, who turned xenophobia into acceptable discourse. Thus it is common to assume that Turkey is destined to become merely a “strategic partner.” Strategic partners The question at hand is what constitutes a strategic partnership. Apart from the USA, the only experience Europe has with strategic partnerships is Russia. And this is an experience we can learn from, mainly because it is a relationship where European multilateralism is showing clear signs of failure. In the early 1990s it was assumed that ”strategic partnership” with Russia translated into a privileged economic relationship in return for political ‘harmonization.’ But, the demand for harmonization was made in terms that were clearly insensitive to the self-perception of Russia as a global power; at times Russia was not even treated as a regional power with long standing presence in the continent and concrete interests in Europe. In sum, in times of economic, military and diplomatic supremacy, Russia was not engaged but rather marginalized. And this perhaps the reason that Russia now openly defies the framework of European multilateralism, mainly because it was made to believe that there was no room for genuine partnership, where Moscow would be treated – at the very least – as a ”peer” European state. In fact, as soon as the Berlin Wall came crumbling down, Russia did not challenge the role of ‘Europe’ as a socioeconomic or political actor; on the contrary, Russian attempts were made to join the EU in fulfillment of De Gaul’s prophecy for a united continent ”from the Atlantic to the Urals”. In the early 1990s it was speculated that the disintegration of Pax Sovietica and of communist regimes would lead to great power cooperation, especially in the Balkans. In this scheme, Russia did join NATO’s Partnership for Peace



EURODIALOGUE Journal of International Relations, European, Economic and Social Studies

program (PfP) and was even a party to a permanent Joint Council with NATO (Rontoyanni 2002). Moreover, when the UN-declared no-fly zone over Bosnia and the arms embargo on former Yugoslavia was imposed, the Yeltsin government was engaged to exert pressure on Belgrade in order to stop the bloodshed in Sarajevo in 1994 (Miller and Kagan 1997). In sum, Moscow was willing to join Europe in Europe’s terms, which were clearly not always to its liking. But, Europe was shutting the door. Time and again, final resolutions on the future of Europe occurred without consultation with Moscow, starting from the Dayton agreements. Time and again, during the 1990s Russian objections were raised against territorial revisionism and the consolidation of a, so called, ”Euro-Atlantic” security architecture. And Moscow’s objections were well founded. It should be remembered that the Euro-Atlantic architecture was an offspring of the Cold War, that is, an alliance whose foundational principle was best encapsulated in the words of the first NATO Secretary General, Lord Ismay, who famously stated that the organization’s goal was “to keep the Russians out, the Americans in, and the Germans down.” Following the end of the Cold War, the emergence of the USA as the sole superpower, the re-unification of Germany, the expansion of the EU in the Baltic States and Central Eastern Europe, combined with the tendency to exclude Moscow from the negotiating table, Lord Ismay’s dictum was now revised: from Moscow’s point of view, the consolidation of a Euro-Atlantic architecture meant keeping Russia both down and out. Thus for most of the 1990s Russia used its Cold War inheritance, namely its preeminence in the UN Security Council, attempting to safeguard its traditional veto in global governance. But, during the 1990s, Russian objections were met in Brussels with a condescending manner: as Moscow was experiencing traumatic confrontations in the Caucasus, as the former superpower came close to an economic meltdown, Moscow could do nothing more than protest NATO expansion – in a parallel course with the EU – in Central Eastern Europe and the Baltic States. Moreover, Moscow’s repeated objections against “humanitarian intervention” in 1999 were simply inconsequential. By all accounts, Russia appeared as a second-rate power of no particular consequence in the Balkans, the Caucasus, the Caspian Basin and, perhaps, beyond.

Turkey on the European doorstep


Turkey: A “Strategic Partner” or a “Regional Power”

This Russian perception of estrangement and engulfment was solidified in Kosovo. Upon receiving the news that NATO’s humanitarian bombing campaign was about to begin, Foreign Minister Primakov ordered his plane to turn around as he was flying to Washington; Moscow then attempted to supply Belgrade with military equipment and Russians exploded with national pride as their paratroopers marched from Bosnia to Kosovo in June; Russia swiftly moved to suspend its participation in NATO’s PfP program and the Permanent Joint Council (PJC) (Op. Cit. Rontoyianni 2002); last but not least, Kosovar Albanians were branded ‘terrorists’ and Moscow dismissed the intervention as a neocolonial and illegal venture, threatening to derail the whole international rule of law regime (Steinkhol 2010). In sum, Kosovo was perceived in Moscow’s strategic circles as a unilateral declaration by NATO of the right to act in Europe outside the normative mandate of the UN and OSCE, over and beyond the territory of NATO’s member states; perhaps more significantly, to act as if Russia did not exist. In the words of Alexei Arbatov, a member of the Russian Duma Defense Committee and security analyst, the message of Kosovo was clear: “The main lesson learned is that the goal justifies the means. The use of force is he most efficient problem solver, if applied decisively and massively. Negotiations are of dubious value and are to be used as a cover for military action. Legality of state actions, observation of laws and legal procedures, and humanitarian suffering are of secondary significance relative to achieving the goal. Limiting one’s own troop casualties is worth imposing massive devastation and collateral fatalities on civilian populations.”I But, times have changed. Today, Russia is undermining European multilateralism by cultivating a nexus of ever-deepening bilateral economic relations with states in the Balkans, the Caucasus, the Caspian Basin, Central Asia and, perhaps more significantly, EU member states. Moreover, Moscow is now claiming the sovereign prerogative to act upon the precedent of normative violations initiated by the Euro-Atlantic axis in what it considers to be its own geopolitical ‘breathing space.’ Russia is thus reclaiming its role as a geopolitical pole amongst many, questioning the dominance of a multilateral-unipolar regime. In sum, Moscow is antagonistic to Brussels, not only in the, so called, ‘European neighborhood’ area, but also within the territory of the EU.



EURODIALOGUE Journal of International Relations, European, Economic and Social Studies

This assertive stance is of course a direct consequence of Russia’s increasing economic affluence and its emergence as a geopolitical centre of gravity for European energy-security architecture. Indeed, because Russia has a significant role in the production and distribution of fossil fuels, it has achieved an economic leap. From 1999 to 2005 the Russian GDP tripled. According to the Russian Federation’s ”Energy Strategy of Russia to 2020” (August 2003), “the role of the country in world energy markets to a large extent determines its geopolitical influence”. Rather than opening the energy market to corporate interests from Europe, Putin nationalized the oil and gas sectors, gaining a near monopoly leverage in the European fossil fuel market by promoting two major pipeline projects (North Stream and South Stream). Simultaneously, Russia pursued a Trojan horse strategy designed to infringe upon the Union’s solidarity. In 2007, the European Commission published its policy paper ‘An Energy Policy for Europe’ and in 2008 a Strategic Energy Review. There the Commission envisioned the Nabucco project, designed to loosen Gazprom’s grip upon the European market. But, Russia made deals with major German energy companies and the Baltic Sea pipeline project was secured. And on the South Stream front, President Putin made deals with Austria, Bulgaria and Greece, as well as Turkmenistan, undermining the Nabucco project. And when NATO, once again, bypassed the UN Security Council to grant Kosovo independence in February 2008, Moscow was far stronger than it had been in 1999 and responded in a twofold manner: first, it lobbied countries who felt threatened by secessionist-minded minorities, including a number of EU member states such as Spain, Romania, Slovakia, Greece and Cyprus; second, Moscow stepped up its support for secessionist movements in Georgia, only to follow up with full-scale military intervention. In sum, it is wishful thinking to assert that a “strategic partnership” is a more symmetrical relationship. So far, a “strategic partnership means that a power of geopolitical consequence can treat the EU as a sum of its parts, concluding separate economic, political, financial and diplomatic agreement”. Time and again, this has also been the US experience vis a vis the EU. Indeed, the history of European Integration is full of instances where the British ‘special relationship’ has challenged the political priorities of the FrancoGerman axis. However, given the history of European integration, the

Turkey on the European doorstep


Turkey: A “Strategic Partner” or a “Regional Power”

common values, history and institutional bonds bridging the two shores of the Atlantic, such political confrontations were often treated as little more than ‘domestic affairs.’ However, when a ‘strategic partner,’ such as Russia, which has for decades been treated as the outcast of Europe, is able to challenge the political coherence of the EU, then the issue at hand becomes existential. Indeed, the recent division of EU member states over the question of Lybia, where Britain and France chose intervention whilst Germany sided with Moscow in a non-intervention and no-confrontation policy line, indicates that “the community” we have known as ‘Euro-Atlantic’ is experiencing a deep crisis. The Turkish Strategic partnership? Clearly, therefore, EU’s objective should be to harness a relationship with Turkey of a more “strategic nature” that the one we currently enjoy with Russia. After all, Turkey is a long standing partner of “Europe” and a member of NATO. Moreover, its strategic significance for Europe can hardly be overstated. If we were to take note of former German Foreign Minister and chief Nabucco-project lobbyist Joschka Fischer, time is not on our side: “It can’t be said often enough: Turkey is situated in a highly sensitive geopolitical location, particularly where Europe’s security is concerned. The eastern Mediterranean, the Aegean, the western Balkans, the Caspian region and the southern Caucasus, Central Asia, and the Middle East are all areas where the West will achieve nothing or very little without Turkey’s support. And this is true in terms not only of security policy, but also of energy policy if you’re looking for alternatives to Europe’s growing reliance on Russian energy supplies. (…)”. All competing scenarios for the emerging European energy architecture are built around the notion of Turkish centrality. Moreover, Turkey is gaining significance as a booming economy of over 70 million inhabitants. What’s more, Turkey has time and again proved that it can be a reliable partner. For instance, Turkey only reluctantly endorsed the Russian offer for the Blue Stream II project in 2005, giving priority to the EU sponsored Nabucco project. Russia thus turned to the Balkans, established an alliance with Italy, carving an alternative route from the Russian Black Sea coast via an offshore pipeline to Bulgaria. However, neither Russia nor the EU can afford to exclude Turkey from their fossil fuel grand strategy.



EURODIALOGUE Journal of International Relations, European, Economic and Social Studies

Nevertheless, given that Turkey has made little progress in EU accession negotiations since 2003, the argument for seeking opportunities for growth in the East are indeed compelling. Energy is not the only dimension of the Russo-Turkish axis: since 2008 Russia became Turkey’s biggest trading partner; Russia is a major market for Turkish manufactured goods and a major tourist source market. Still, Turkey is cultivating the position of a broker, or ‘a bridge’ to use the term of preference for Turkish diplomats. The question thus far has never been either Europe or Russia. Moreover, there are those who prophesize that this balanced relationship will not survive in the long run. Those who still adhere to Huntingtonian notions of inevitable civilizational encounters, prophesize that Turkey will eventually be confronted with Orthodox solidarity, which is destined to rise against Muslim solidarity. This apocalyptic prophecy points to the Balkans as the zone where this tectoniccivilization encounter will be fulfilled. In this scheme, Russia is supposed to be cultivating a deep relationship with the Orthodox Serbian brother, whilst Turkey is considered a traditional ally of Muslim minorities, that is, Bosniaks and Albanians.II But, should the Russo-Turkish civilizational encounter prophecy fail to be fulfilled, Turkey may always be singled out as the next ‘neoconservative other’ – along with Iran and Syria – in yet another version the dark trinity chiliastic fantasy inaugurated by G.W. Bush.III This line of reasoning is not completely unfounded. Turkey’s soft power is often cultivated as the logical extension of its historic role as the Muslim motherland in the Balkans.IV For instance, the Turkish International Cooperation and Development Agency (TIKA) invests in social infrastructures with a ‘Muslim-Turkic brotherhood’ undertone in Bosnia, Kosovo, Romania and Albania.V And Turkey has expressed Muslim solidarity in other fronts as well: in April 2010, Turkey played a key role in persuading NATO to grant Bosnia-Herzegovina a Membership Action Plan, widely seen as the first step prior to full membership.VI But, Turkey is not merely a religious motherland. Ankara is systematically weaving an industrial, communication, finance, and transport web of economic leverage that complements its culturalIslamic prestige.VII Nor should Turkish pro-Islamic diplomacy in the Balkans be immediately perceived as anti-Orthodox. On the contrary, Turkey has capitalized on its good-faith credentials with the Bosniak community

Turkey on the European doorstep


Turkey: A “Strategic Partner” or a “Regional Power”

in order to emerge as a broker of political compromise with the Serbian community in Bosnia-Herzegovina. In April 2010 President Gul persuaded Serbia’s President, Boris Tadic, and the Bosniak member of Bosnia-Herzegovina’s tripartite presidency, Haris Silajdzic, to sign the so-called ”Istanbul Declaration,” which reaffirmed a shared “commitment to take all necessary steps to ensure regional peace, stability and prosperity.” Moreover, Turkish economic interests seem to be responsive to the country’ strategic vision in both Serbia and Bosnia-Herzegovina, with investment channelled to a number of strategic sectors spanning from the defence industry to aviation. In sum, Turkey has the potential to merge former Yugoslav strategic sectors of the economy under Turkish tutorship.VIII Still, the Turkish presence in the Balkans evokes Huntigtonian chiliasm for a number of reasons. For instance, the visit of Turkish Foreign Minister Davutoglu in October 2009 in Bosnia did cause scepticism. His book, ”Strategic Depth”(2001), is time and again quoted as the new testament of Turkish foreign policy and the source of its motto: “zero problems and maximum cooperation with neighbours.”IX But, apart from the catchy motto, the very same book often spells out a vision for the Balkans as little more than a lebensraum, envisaging Ankara as having a veto power and the prerogative of military intervention for the protection of Muslim minorities in the region, making references to the precedent of Cyprus.X In sum, prophesies of cultural encounter may become self-fulfilling if the EU does not engage, tame, and use constructively the diplomatic initiative that Turkey is exhibiting. Overall, Turkish emerging diplomatic capability has little to do with Islam and more to do with its consistent aspiration to be a broker; in this scheme, it has even acquired an actual veto power in the Euro-Atlantic community. This is because amongst the traditionally neutral states that gained EU membership (Austria, Cyprus, Finland, Ireland, Malta, and Sweden), it is only Cyprus that is not a member of the PfP program and this is an institutional exception that is heatedly debated both in Nicosia and in Brussels.XI Thus, paradoxically, Turkey, which is a NATO member and an EU aspirant member, is able to veto the participation of Cyprus in ESDP missions. The veto is possible because Turkey, unlike Cyprus, has corporate ownership of NATO infrastructures and, more significantly, ownership of military intelligence that is unwilling to share with a regime it does not even recognize.



EURODIALOGUE Journal of International Relations, European, Economic and Social Studies

The EU Crisis & Turkey The security fence that Turkey is building vis a vis Cyprus is directly comparable to the Russian energy fence build around Brussels. In both cases, the EU has failed to respond as a consolidated international actor; in both cases, a position of economic and diplomatic supremacy was treated as ‘the state of nature,’ with the EU failing to capitalize on its leverage to consolidate its long term interests. And the comparison does not end here. In ‘good times,’ when the EU dealt with Turkey as an economy hard hit by macroeconomic, political and social instability, centre-right governments in Europe chose to employ orientalist discourse against Turkey. As a result, popular support for the prospect of European integration is fading in Turkey; again, this situation is not unlike the gradual estrangement of Moscow in the 1990s. Today, the question is no longer whether there is a political consensus in Brussels for the engagement of Ankara, but whether Turkey will itself remain committed to the process of negotiating accession in the EU. But, if we were to admit that Turkey will definitively not become an EU member state, we would have no option but to pursue a sort of “compensatory regionalism”. This means that we would have to shift our diplomatic engagement from a chapter-by-chapter framework with rules and values to bilateral tit-for-tat bargaining. In effect, this would mean compensating Turkey for the disadvantages of being outside the EU. If this scenario prevails, Turkey will become a regional power rather than a ”strategic partner”: Turkey will have no motivation to remain a buffer zone for the Schengen Area, unless it is duly compensated; Turkey will have no incentive to maintain a balance in its energy policy, unless it is duly compensated; Turkey will have no incentive to reach an agreement with Greece or Cyprus, unless it is duly compensated. Such development would have a twofold consequence: • First, in determining what constitutes “adequate compensation”, it is likely that ‘national’ rather than ”European” considerations will prevail, as they did in the Russian case. For example, Britain will have a different approach to the Cyprus question than Germany. Thus, once again, the EU will be revealed as less than a sum of its parts.

Turkey on the European doorstep


Turkey: A “Strategic Partner” or a “Regional Power”

• Second, the functional interdependence between policy chapters will evaporate; instead, a zero sum agenda of bilateral negotiatio will prevail. Thus, for example, Turkey may accept Foreign Direct Investment in the Energy sector but decline participation in Asylum Policy harmonization: these will no longer be interrelated issues or parts of a ‘package deal.’ No mistake should be made: the perceived success of EU enlargement was largely founded on the principle of conditionality. The ‘functional logic’ that adheres within the EU has also largely governed its relations with the rest of the world. Thus the Commission is accustomed to extending deadlines, opening chapters and, in sum, framing and shaping the dynamics of every partnership, strategic or not. Perhaps with the exception of the USA, partnerships with states surrounding ”Europe” have never been diplomatically symmetrical. But, this rule of thumb may not be applicable in the near future. For Turkey the EU remains an indispensable partner: there are still financial, commercial, security and political ties that make the EU an indispensable partner to Turkey. But, the quality of EU engagement with Turkey should not be reduced to a compensatory tactic. If the EU looses its ability to negotiate within the framework of enlargement, then the difference between dealing with a “strategic partner” and a ‘regional power’ will be hardly distinguishable. And if this happens, Turkey will be just like Russia. Such a development would not only be detrimental for European interests in the wider European Neighbourhood, that is, from the Caucasus to the Middle East. Perhaps more significantly, such a development would almost certainly have grave consequences for the dynamics of political solidarity within the 27 seven nations bloc that the EU represents. NOTES: I.

Arbatov A. G., ‘The Transformation of Russian Military Doctrine: Lessons Learned from Kosovo and Chechnya,’ Marshall Center Papers, No. 2, July 2000, pp. 20-21.


Whitmore B., ‘Moscow Visit by Turkish PM Underscores New Strategic Alliance,’ Radio free Europe Radio Liberty, 12.01.2010.


Feffer J, ‘Stealth Superpower: How Turkey is Chasing China to Become the Next Big Thing,’ , 13.06.2010.



EURODIALOGUE Journal of International Relations, European, Economic and Social Studies


Gozaydin I., ‘Religion as Soft Power in the International Relations of Turkey,’ Political Studies Association Annual Conference, Edinburgh, U.K., 29 March, 1st April 2010, pp: 5-7.



Charter D, ‘Serbia condemns 1995 Srebrenica massacre of 8,000 Muslim men and boys,’ The Sunday Times,’ 31.03.2010; cf. also Barlovac B, Silajdzic, ‘Trip Cancelled Over Prison Visit,’, 26.05.2010.

VII. Hurriet Daily News, ‘Turkish Mobile Venture Grows fast in Albania, 22.06.2010; cf. also Southeastern European Times, ‘Diplomatic Diary,’ 20.05.2010; cf. also Bankroft I., ‘Turkish Delights in the Balkans,’ Business New Europe, 16.06.2010. VIII. Idem. Bancroft, 16.06.2010; cf. also Hoffman K., ‘Turkish Airlines express interest in LOT, JAT buys,’ Air Transport World, 19.05.2010. IX.

Adilgızı L., Akkan F., Şahin B, ‘One year with Davutoğlu strengthens Turkey’s foreign policy,’ Zaman, . 02.05.2010.


Davutoglu A., Το Στρατηγικό Βάθος (Strategic Depth), Athens: Piotita, 2010.


Evripidou S., ‘Cyprus Problem Major Obstacle in EU-NATO Relations,’ Cyprus Mail, 20.02.2009.

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EURODIALOGUE - Turkey on the European doorstep  

Journal of International Relations, European, Economic and Social Studies A Publication of, CENTER OF EASTERN STUDIES PANTEION UNIVERSITY, A...

EURODIALOGUE - Turkey on the European doorstep  

Journal of International Relations, European, Economic and Social Studies A Publication of, CENTER OF EASTERN STUDIES PANTEION UNIVERSITY, A...