Europe transformed

Despite the conditions included in the Brussels summit conclusions, the European Union has effectively opened its door to Turkey – a move that will inevitably have an effect on the future anatomy of the bloc. Without doubt, Ankara is a tough negotiator – partly due to its inconsistent stand. The Turkish government wants the accession part without the part about adaptation. Most importantly, it clings to the idea of a fortress nation. In other words, Ankara wants membership a la carte. At the same time, however, the accession of such a large Muslim state will transform the EU itself. Our EU peers have avoided tackling the question of whether Turkey belongs in Europe. They rather choose to leave the issue for a future date in the belief that they will find an escape hatch. Any conditions attached to membership were mainly meant to soothe the fierce opposition of the European populaces whose objections are culturally driven and hence of fundamental importance. Most European governments would like to see Turkish ambitions reduced to a so-called «special relationship.» However, past experience and the manner in which community institutions function leave few doubts about the final destination of the journey that began on December 17. The Europeans are likely to invoke any Turkish shortcomings to prolong the negotiations. But at the end of the road, it will be extremely hard to deny the Turks full membership.