Strategic concerns

Despite the special conditions referred to in the European Commission’s progress report, it is widely regarded that it will open the way for Turkey to join the EU. As the crucial December summit nears, speculation abounds about the viability of such a move. But it is unlikely that Ankara will be rebuffed. There is no doubt that Erdogan’s government has made much progress in terms of legislative reform, but the problem in Turkey has always been implementation of the law. But before asking whether Turkey fulfills the Copenhagen criteria, EU states should be asking whether Turkey belongs in the bloc or not. Otherwise December’s critical decision will be made not because Europe wants to embrace Turkey but because it cannot say no. The Turkish debate condenses Europe’s most critical strategic dilemmas such as the limits of its expansion and integration. These matters are of concern to all Europeans, including Greeks. If the Germans and French are worried about the free movement of Turks within their countries, the Greeks should be terrified. If these fears are founded, it is only a matter of time until the population of Thrace and the islands of the eastern Aegean is diluted. But unfortunately, there is no public debate about such issues.