OPINION

Turkish eclecticism in EU membership

Calls on Turkey to recognize Cyprus, a European Union member, before it begins its own EU talks have gained new intensity. However, no European politician will perish from any overload of sincerity about the issue. At first, they were hypocritical, pretending there is no issue whatsoever. Now they have suddenly realized the importance of the issue – a realization that stems from ulterior motives. What European politicians really want is to raise a roadblock to Turkey’s membership hopes. So the important question becomes: What kind of Europe do they really want? The answer, it seems, is a Europe without Turkey. Ankara has its own problems. Its EU ambitions are no less hypocritical. Aside from the country’s only true Europeanists, its entrepreneurs, the rest only want parts of Europe, not the entire menu. The Islamist-leaning government wants membership, for it sees the EU as a beacon of religious freedom and parliamentary democracy, free from military intervention. The military elite, which still have a strong say on the political agenda, want to enter the bloc to prevent Turkey from sliding into the underdeveloped Middle East. In the eyes of the masses, Europe is the surest path to prosperity and higher living standards. Intellectuals and the Kurdish population see the EU as a guarantee of democratic freedoms and, possibly, a means to greater autonomy. No one wants Europe for what it really stands for. In fact, Europe’s legal system foresees democratic institutions but demands respect for international law and free-market liberalism. The EU provides subsidies but at the same time forces states to adapt with the EU average. It has a social face but at the same time deregulates the labor market.