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
Published on Feb 16, 2012
A Publication based on the International Conference organised at the European Parliament/Brussels by Dr. ELENI THEOCHAROUS, Member of the Eu...