Tuesday, October 31, 2006

The EU’s wilful ignorance....

The EU’s ambassador to Ankara, Hans Jörg Kretschmer, who has been in the post for the last 4 years, really is a deluded fool. He blames the country’s slowness in implementing EU reforms on the military and the state bureaucracy. Wrong. These institutions are rightly obstructing the wishes of a pro-Islamist government that seeks to use EU-inspired reforms as a means to abolish the secular character of the Turkish state. He should be blaming the government itself which has been in office since November 2002 with a massive parliamentary majority and which has selectively chosen to put in place the reforms that meet its covert goals and ignore those which do not. For those who choose to see the blindingly obvious, go here


Serf said...

Those in Turkey who are most pro EU tend to be the same as the most Pro Army.

Its a shame that the EU officials all have their heads stuck up their arses and can't see therefore what is staring them in the face.

Secular Turks see joining the EU as the culmination of a century or more of Westernisation, a trend that, as Ataturk's vision, the Army broadly supports.

Instead what the army sees is a slow Islamic takeover, aided and abetted by stupid pompous self righteous politicos & Eurocrats. Is it any wonder they show resistance?

CityUnslicker said...

Everything is someone elses' fault according to the EU; this is their standard reply to all questions.

However, I don't want Turkey in the EU if the UK is still in too. Why?
1 - Emigration of Kurds to UK could be 100,000+ easily
2 - Development of an islamic state within the EU would not be a source of stability
3 - CAP payments and other subsidies would cost the UK taxpayer.

Istanbultory, maybe you can help...what would be any benefits? I can't think of any.

Ellee said...

The whole country will find out soon enough because the EU has to report soon on Turkey's progress for joining the EU which is, as you point out, falling far behind the desired standard.

I guess the there are those that want to move forward and see the huge financial benefits and free movement, open borders etc, and those who want to stay stuck in the past.

istanbultory said...

Exactly,exactly. The eurocracy, indeed, have their heads firmly stuck up their arses. As ever.

I tend to agree. I am not exactly a passionate supporter of Turkey's entry into the EU.
Potential benefits? Turkey is already an important European trading partner, and its population would be both a vast market for European goods and a ready labor force. In addition, Turkey occupies a strategic location at the crossroads of Europe, Asia, and the Middle East
Turkish membership may cost E11.3 billion in agricultural subsidies per year.

As for your numbers on migration to the UK, I suspect that they are somewhat on the low side.It is very hard to predict future migration.The EU commissioned a study that estimated between 500,000 to 4.4 million Turks may migrate to other EU nations in the first 15 years following Turkish accession. I would expect at least 500,000 migrants heading to the UK.

There is little talk of anything else but the looming Progress report (groan)

Colin said...


"The whole country will find out soon enough because the EU has to report soon on Turkey's progress for joining the EU"

A good example is the accession of Romania and Bulgaria. Experts said that both countries were far from meeting the EU's criteria for membership. Nevertheless, Romania and Bulgaria are now EU members.

These events might be seen as a paradigm for the relevance of Turkey's progress for becoming a member of the EU.

Colin said...


"The whole country will find out soon enough because the EU has to report soon on Turkey's progress for joining the EU"

A good example is the accession of Romania and Bulgaria. Experts said that both countries were far from meeting the EU's criteria for membership. Nevertheless, Romania and Bulgaria are now EU members.

These events might be seen as a paradigm for the relevance of Turkey's progress for becoming a member of the EU.

istanbultory said...

I agree. The Romanian and Bulgarian cases are very appropriate. I think the Eurocracy has, by and large, decided to admit Turkey at some point around 2020. The only question now is which EU member states may be prepared to defy the Brussels diktat. Do the political elites in countries such as France, Austria, Denmark etc, really have the courage to face up to the EU system.... and say NO. We'll see...

Anonymous said...


I must say really deeply impressed by this large audience and the corresponding interest in Turkey – European Union relations. When I entered the hotel I wondered how do I find the place. Where it takes place. Then I saw the sign which says “Conference Dr. Kretschmer on 14th floor” which reminded me very much of a time about 20 years ago when I was doing trade policy, working in the European Commission in Brussels and did a lot of trade policy investigations in companies around the world and in Japan. In fact it was very often the case that we, trade policy investigators, were welcomed with welcome and then the names of myself and my assistants. So this was quite a place in memory, but thank you very much for inviting me and of course I do not know what all of you know about Turkey – European Union relations, and so I apologize right away that I may say certain things which some of you very well know but perhaps others persons will not know. And I would very much appreciate afterwards questions and answers because this is then making the thing a bit more lively.

We see that the present government or the two governments after the general election in November 2002 have shown a tremendous determination which was not expected by anyone to move the reforms forward in order to meet the target of fulfilling the political criteria. And they have not chide away in seven reform packages from tackling elements which are in Turkey extremely sensitive. They have reformed the National Security Council. They have awarded the cultural rights to minorities, for example, the broadcasting and teaching of non-Turkish language. They have declared a policy of zero-tolerance against torture. They have authorized the retrial of criminal cases after Turkey has been condemned by the European Court of Human Rights for violation of the European Charter of the Human Rights.

So a lot of things have been tackled and certainly in a successful way. Now as you may know the European Commission every year writes, adopts a, what we call, regular report, a progress report on each candidate country’s progress in terms of complying with the different criteria. And so this we also date again in November 2003 concerning Turkey and our conclusion there was that in fact Turkey has made very significant progress but more efforts are needed, because as well as on the legislative side, on the implementation side of these reforms many things have to be done. These reforms have not yet trickled through to the daily life in Turkey in many instances and a reform is only a reform if it can be felt in the daily life of the country. If it is written only on the statute book, that is not sufficient.

So where do we see the need for additional reforms? For example, in relation to the efficiency and independence of the judiciary in the area of the civil – military relations, in the area of the fundamental freedoms, like freedom of expression, freedom of association, freedom of religion. In terms of implementation, we see significant shortcomings still in the area of the fundamental freedoms, in the area of torture, in the area of cultural rights. So more effort in terms of legislation and implementation are required.

Now, where does Turkey stand today? The decision as I mentioned will be taken by the European Council in December 2004, so in 10 months time, and I must say we have seen a rather dramatic change in atmosphere in relation to Turkey’s candidacy. Before I came to Turkey in summer 2002, I think I perceived the political atmosphere in European Union capitals, and also in Brussels as being extremely skeptical about Turkey’s ability to make progress and to be able to meet the political criteria. This has changed significantly. I think the change started in August 2002 with the third reform package. The last big action of the Ecevit government at the time where the death penalty was abolished, the first steps were taken in terms of cultural rights, language teaching and language broadcasting. So this was the first, very important breakthrough, and then of course the very far-reaching reforms initiated by the AK Parti government.

So now we have a very positive atmosphere. An atmosphere which is becoming even more positive due to the very positive indications about a solution of the Cyprus question. Cyprus is not a political condition, Cyprus is not part of the Copenhagen political criteria, but Cyprus is reality. And it is difficult to imagine that a candidate country would be able to become a member of the European Union if it is still involved in problems as Turkey is in Cyprus. And if now Cyprus is resolved which we see as a very high likelihood that it will be resolved. Then I personally see very big chances for Turkey obtaining a positive decision on the beginning of accession negotiations in December this year. This in any case is a political decision, it is not a mathematical decision. Even if you forget a moment about Cyprus, it is clear that these criteria will never be able to be 100% fulfilled before the end of this year. 100% in principal does not exist. Nowhere, not even in the European Union member states. So the performance record of Turkey in fulfilling these condition is somewhere between 0 and 100. Imagine you could quantify which of course it is difficult to quantify, you would find Turkey has fulfilled it by 55% or by 65%. So obviously an assessment has to be made. The situation is good enough to allow Turkey to start accession negotiations.