OPINION

Unconditional criteria

The tension that characterizes relations between Turkey and the European Union is hardly unexpected, as such a climate always prevails ahead of any critical European summit. The only remarkable aspect of the whole affair is that the majority of Europeans appear to be against Turkey joining the bloc. In Greece, however, public debate about European affairs is virtually non-existent; citizens do not express their opinions via referendums and all relevant decisions are made by Parliament with the two main political parties absolutely agreeing on the matter of Turkey’s EU accession. As a result, the main concern is how to safeguard national interests, especially in view of the fact that we have vowed not to exercise our veto. But Greek politicians are well aware of the fact that in order for Turkey to join the EU, it must satisfy the Copenhagen criteria adopted in June 1993, as was the case with the bloc’s 10 newest members. But this criteria merely dictates that a candidate country must be a solid democracy, respect human rights, rule of law and minority rights, have a functioning market economy and adopt European laws and policies. So, the ability to freely move goods in the Turkish market is of the utmost importance to the EC but not the fact that Turkey will join the bloc without recognizing Cyprus…