OPINION

EU and Turkey

…The post-Kemal regime in Turkey is plagued by a fundamental contradiction. On the one hand, it has sought and succeeded in securing the status of EU candidate and is now trying to extract a date for the beginning of accession negotiations. On the other, however, it is not prepared to commit political suicide. Even though no one dares say so in public, Turkey’s adaptation to Europe’s political culture and its endorsement of the acquis communautaire will inevitably instigate political transformation. The hegemony of the military elite will fade. Pro-European officials in Turkey are gradually, albeit timidly, raising the issue of the emancipation of the political domain from the suffocating embrace of the military, but they are more courageous when they underscore the need to accelerate the process of adaptation so as to bring their country closer to EU accession. In this context, they have asked for greater flexibility on the Cyprus and Kurdish questions – the two main issues in EU-Turkish relations. Turkey’s business community (which has, along with the majority of the media and a considerable number of local intellectuals, led this campaign) are pressing the government to abandon sterile confrontation and to push for EU accession in a more decisive fashion. The General Staff has hesitated to turn against this group in public, but when Deputy Prime Minister Mesut Yilmaz urged the Turkish-Cypriot leader to change his policy, he came under fire…