OPINION

Turkey — the real winner

The 25 European Union foreign ministers who were in Luxembourg to discuss – and ultimately agree to – Turkey’s accession talks were a sorry sight. The ultimate winner was the Turkish establishment. The outcome of the clash between the «democratic» West and the somewhat maladjusted East was a fair one. Turkey is a vital, politically dynamic entity and easily prevailed over a loose grouping of 25 states whose leaders daily confirm their helplessness in all sectors, simply hoping for a better future. Europe’s leaders were under pressure from Washington and toed the line because, despite their protests, they recognize America’s power and play a leading role only in their own narrow electoral regions. European leaders submitted to emotional blackmail; they feared being accused of the worst kind of political discrimination if they did not accept a country with a different cultural and religious identity. In other words, they seemed to feel guilty that Europe was founded on the values of ancient Greece, Rome, Christianity and the Enlightenment, rather than Islam. As for Greece’s interests, Turkey began its accession talks without recognizing the Republic of Cyprus and without lifting its casus belli if Greece extended its territorial waters. If that is not a victory for Turkish policy then words have lost their meaning. Greece claims that Turkey will adapt, yet Ankara does not even appear willing to harmonize its customs union accord with Cyprus. Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said yesterday that «Turkey will open its ports and airports to ships and aircraft from the Cyprus Republic if restrictions on the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus are lifted.»