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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



Turkey on the European Doorstep  

A Publication based on the International Conference organised at the European Parliament/Brussels by Dr. ELENI THEOCHAROUS, Member of the Eu...

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