OPINION

Opinion

. ..Turkey’s threat to veto the participation of NATO forces in Europe’s rapid reaction force may hamper, but does not essentially threaten, Europe’s efforts to create an independent EU defense force. Given the current momentum toward the formation of a central core of fast-track member states within the EU to administrate a reinforced political and defensive cohesion, it is not possible to reach a separate settlement which will guarantee Ankara’s equal participation in the European defense framework during its long course toward EU accession. The crisis in Turkey’s relations with the EU are due to the difficulty of the Turkish political elite to adapt to the new reality. Even the achievement of the final goal, namely, full accession in a community of 28 or 30 members, will not guarantee equality, not only for Turkey, but also for the other candidates. The question, then, is not whether Ankara will back down from its current intransigent position, but rather, what will be its pretext for withdrawal? If nothing else, the country’s political and military elite will have been taught an interesting lesson: The European game at the dawn of the 21st century is not played on the terms of the intra-NATO balance of power during the Cold War era. The harmonization of prices across Europe will be rapid, sidelining Greece’s more expensive and hence less competitive products.