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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.

II.

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

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

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MARIA ELENI KOPPA

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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