OPINION

Taking a stance…

It is not the first time that Washington has urged the European Union to start accession talks with Turkey. However, what is remarkable about the latest appeal by the State Department to the Dutch EU presidency – made by Deputy Assistant Secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs Laura Kennedy – is that it also asks that an imminent EU decision about giving Turkey a date for accession talks does not make recognition of Cyprus a prerequisite… It was many years ago that the Americans decided to push Turkey onto a course toward Europe; and their interest has a strategic basis. They were never particularly keen on European unification as they regarded a stronger Europe as a threat to their own hegemony. They want the EU to remain at the phase of inter-governmental cooperation and if possible to regress to the level of a single market. It is hardly surprising that Britain, which shares this outlook, also strongly supports Turkey’s EU membership… At the Copenhagen summit two years ago, Europe was pressured by the US to give Ankara the much-sought date, but it refused. This time, there are no significant objections. The Americans have exercised diplomacy in a timely and systematic fashion. But the Europeans, by avoiding taking a stance on whether Turkey can or cannot join the EU over the past few years, have now limited their ability to say no…