Destination uncertain

War rarely leads to triumph (the US won the Iraq war but only in the short term, while taking a battering on the moral front); this is also true of diplomacy. Last week’s EU summit reminded us of this fact. It also reminded us that every government has the right to triumphalism just as the opposition has to see disasters all around, even if that switch from the roles both main parties played before the March elections presumes to erase their own as well as the collective memory. At the same time, the summit conclusions revealed that what is self-evident in politics often borders on the absurd for ordinary people. Let’s say a country is keen to join the United States of America (this is not an extreme case, as many governments already act as servants of Washington’s) but refuses to recognize Texas or California. Washington would most certainly reject the unthinkable demand and terminate negotiations – if it did not proceed to take military action. The EU differs from the US both in terms of structure and politics. Nevertheless, it is a family of 25 supposedly equal members and it goes without saying that any third party that wishes to join the bloc ought to recognize all its members – and not maintain an occupation army in one of them. But as politics is not exercised in a vacuum or in some invisible moral universe, Turkey has neither recognized Cyprus nor vowed to withdraw its troops. For this reason, and because of its poor record on political and human rights, it got a ticket with no guaranteed destination. It will be a passenger under constant supervision. Hence, what we saw was more a compromise than a triumph, for all parties involved. Whether this compromise turns out to be an historic one, meaning whether it contributes to Turkey’s adaptation to European norms and standards, will depend on politics not wishes.