Davutoğlu reiterated Turkey’s policy regarding the nuclear arms issue, saying Ankara is, and has been, against all nuclear weapons, especially in the Middle East. “No matter who possesses these deadly weapons, we are against it,” he said, adding, however, that every country has a right to develop nuclear technology for peaceful purposes, such as meeting legitimate energy needs.

“Countries should be able to produce enriched uranium for civilian purposes, but the process must be transparent and for peaceful goals,” Davutoğlu underlined. “We are not doing this to favor Iran as our approach to nuclear arms and nuclear energy issues is valid for other countries as well,” he added.

The Turkish foreign minister also balked at more sanctions targeting Iran, saying Turkey would be most adversely impacted in the case of a possible expansion of embargo and trade restrictions. “We suffered immensely when the UN Security Council imposed an embargo on Iraq during Saddam’s rule. The sanctions have a way of punishing those who were not intended to be punished in the first place. The Iraqi embargo affected not only Turkey but also the Iraqi people,” he said.

Davutoğlu emphasized that Turkey prefers negotiations to resolve outstanding issues between Iran and Western powers, noting that military means fall short of accomplishing goals and complicate matters worse. “Let’s give talks a chance and stick to negotiations,” he added.

 16 November 2009, Monday



In a bid to resolve the standoff between Iran and world powers over low-enriched uranium (LEU), Turkey is prepared to offer escrow service, storing LEU in its own territory under the supervision of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), a top Turkish diplomat said on Saturday.


“We have a lot of political capital in Tehran, and we helped diffuse tension between Iran and world powers in the past,” Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu told Today’s Zaman over the weekend while traveling to Spain to meet with his Spanish counterpart. He signaled that Turkey is willing to take up the IAEA suggestion that Iran send its LEU to Turkey, a friendly third country.

Recalling that Turkey had convinced Iran to send a delegation headed by Iran’s Supreme National Security Council Secretary Saeed Jalili to meet with European Union High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy Javier Solana, who presided as moderator of the 5+1 group (the UN Security Council’s five permanent members and Germany) delegation on Oct. 1, Davutoğlu said the dialogue process has reached this point because of Turkish efforts and that talks should continue.

He stated that he held telephone conversations with both IAEA chief Mohamed ElBaradei and Iranian officials last week to confirm Turkey’s willingness to act as a mediator on the issue in a major drive to prevent the disagreement from escalating into a full-blown crisis and help allay concerns on both sides.

The issue originated when Iran realized it was running out of special fuel to operate a Tehran research reactor that produces radioactive isotopes for cancer treatment. On Oct. 1, the meeting between Iran and world powers resulted in an agreement that Tehran would send the bulk of its LEU to Russia and France for further processing and conversion into fuel for the research reactor.

The agreement, however, was stalled over the timing and logistics of how Iran will part ways with its LEU, which some in Iran see as a vital strategic asset. The objections that were raised later by Iranian officials about sending the LEU to France or Russia prompted the UN to suggest that a friendly third country such as Turkey could act as escrow holder until the fuel arrives for the Tehran reactor.

From a technical standpoint, Turkey has the capability to store the LEU under watchdog agency supervision, Turkish officials said last week. “There is no problem from the side of Turkey with Iran storing its LEU in Turkey,” Energy Minister Taner Yıldız told reporters. The UN plan requires Tehran to send 1.2 tons (1,100 kilograms) — around 70 percent of its stockpile — of LEU to Russia in one batch by the end of the year for further enrichment, a move that would ease international concerns that the material could be processed for a bomb. After further enrichment in Russia, France would then convert the uranium into fuel rods that would be returned to Iran for use in a reactor. Fuel rods cannot be further enriched into weapons-grade material.

Turkey, which has very close political and trade relations with Iran, has said in the past it is willing to mediate between Iran and the West over Iran’s nuclear program. Turkish officials had comprehensive talks with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki, who were both in İstanbul to attend an Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) economic summit last week.

source : todays zaman

Graham E. Fuller

The New Turkish Republic : Turkey as a Pivotal State in the Muslim World (Washington, DC: United States Institute of Peace Press, 2008, 196pp.)

 Graham Fuller has written a very useful analysis of the foreign policy options facing Turkey. Basically, there have been three Turkish Republics. The first was created by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk after the First World War. He built on late reform movements within the Ottoman Empire but centered all his attention on the modernization of Turkey. The Arab lands which had belonged to the Ottomans were under the control of France and England while Arabia was taken over by the Saudi family. For Ataturk, modernization was to copy Western European laws, military training and technology while avoiding European political influence. Ataturk’s style of government was authoritarian and reforms were top-down.

 During the 1930s with growing dangers from the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany, Turkey followed a foreign policy of neutrality with its attention focused on European issues. This policy followed through the Second World War.

 In 1950 began the Second Turkish Republic, although it was only slightly different from Ataturk’s. There was greater internal democracy with the growth of a plurality of political parties — all of which followed the Kemalist tradition with a strong military as the backbone of national unity. The major foreign policy change was to join NATO — the USled alliance. Turkey’s military received its weapons and training from the USA and joined into other defense alliances with the USA. For the Arab states Turkey was seen as an agent of US policy and a threat. For most Turks, the Arabs were a people they knew too well from the Ottoman period, and they did not like them very much. Of more interest were the non-Arab Muslim states of Iran, Pakistan and Afghanistan with which there were historic and cultural ties.

 With the end of the Soviet Union in 1991 starts the third Turkish Republic and its more diverse foreign policy. It is this third Republic and its foreign policy that is the focus of Fuller’s analysis although he rightly stresses the impact of the past and the continuities in Turkish attitudes.

 With the end of the Soviet Union, the NATO-US focus of Turkish foreign policy also ends or is deeply modified. Joining the economic growth of Western Europe becomes a priority. There are a large number of Turkish workers living in Germany and France. Increasingly the second and third generations of workers are integrated into Western European society and through education have more skilled jobs. Turkey has started the process of joining the European Union and has modified internal labor and health standards to EU norms. The process of joining the EU is long, and there are some in Western Europe who oppose EU membership — the population of Turkey being too large and too rural ( and probably too Muslim for some.)

While the different administrations in Turkey have been agreed on a Western European orientation, there are also new opportunities for Turkey in other directions. Russia is no longer a threat but a business partner, primarily for energy but also for Turkish exports and building contracts. Iran is also a growing business partner, and Iran needs all the friends it can find. Despite very different orientations concerning religion, Turkey and Iran can develop business interests. Both states also have a common interest in having stability in Iraq.

 In the Middle East, Turkey has developed extensive trade and cooperation with Israel, even if at a popular level there is wide sympathy for the fate of the Palestinians. There is increased Turkish trade and investment in the Arab Middle East and an increasing number of Turkish workers in the Gulf States.

Of the Central Asian States of the former Soviet Union, four are ethnically Turkic: Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan as well as some groups in Afghanistan and the Uyghur of China. In the early 1990s, there were some in Turkey who saw Central Asia as a whole new area of business and cultural interests. However, the authoritarian and highly personalized governments of Central Asia made business difficult — more government-to-government contracts, especially in the energy field rather than a possibility for individual businesses. However, there have been extensive Turkish activities in education and culture.

 It is the issue of Kurdish autonomy and culture and especially the growing powers of the Iraqi Kurds which poses the greatest strain on Turkish foreign policy. At the end of the multi-ethnic Ottoman Empire, Kemal Ataturk wanted to create a Turkish “nation state” — his model being a superficial historical image of France. Thus, for the first Turkish Republic, everyone was a Turk even if they had forgotten the fact — the Kurds were the “mountain Turks”. However, by insisting on Turkish identity, there was a backlash and the “discovery” of a Kurdish identity. Kurdish identity in Turkey grew as there were also Kurds in Iraq and Syria who were not forced to be “Arabs” and Kurds in Iran who were not told to be Persians. The Kurds have had real difficulties in Iraq and Iran and to a lesser extent in Syria, but their identity was not called into question. Among some Kurds, there grew up a Pan-Kurdish movement which wanted to create a unified Kurdistan out of the Kurdish areas of Turkey, Iraq, Syria and Iran. Thus the Kurds have been considered dangerous “separatists” in all these countries and often repressed.

 Turkey, from the mid-1980s, carried out an extensive military campaign against the Marxist-influenced Kurdish Workers Party (PKK) with a heavy loss of life and destruction of villages. As Fuller points out “The Kurdish problem plays a hugely disproportionate and obsessional role in Turkish foreign policy thinking. Part of Turkey’s difficulty with the Kurds lies in the transnational dimension of the problem…Turkey possesses the largest Kurdish population, which numbers at least 12 million and makes up at least 20 percent of Turkey’s population. Half of the Kurds are located in the east and southeastern regions of the country; the rest are scattered throughout western Turkey: Istanbul is the biggest Kurdish city in the world.”

 As a result of the 1991 Gulf War, Saddam’s control over Iraq’s Kurdish region was decisively broken and an autonomous Kurdish region was created which has grown stronger after the 2003 Gulf War. The PKK which had lost much of its influence in Turkey was able to move some fighters into the mountainous and largely empty areas of northern Iraq. The PKK sends small raiding parties to attack Turkish soldiers near the frontier and to place land mines. Turkey has moved some 100,000 troops to the Iraq frontier to block the PKK and has sent warplanes to bomb what may be training camps. Military tensions, however, have not stopped Turkish businesses from investing in the Kurdish areas of Iraq and to carry on building operations.

Today, the New Turkish Republic is pragmatic, business-oriented and carries out largely independent relations with Western Europe, Russia, Iran, and the Arab Middle East. It is no longer dependent on the USA for its security, but Turkey still wishes to have good relations with the USA. The future of Iraq is of concern to both Turkey and the USA and cooperation on Iraq would be useful.

 Fuller has written a clear presentation of Turkey’s foreign policy options and related them to Turkish culture and history.

by : Rene Wadlow

by       :  Amanda Akcakoca

date   : 11 November 2009, Wednesday

Ever since the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) — which most of the Western media describe as “Islamist” — came to power, this question has been bubbling away, and seven years since taking over the reins, the “hidden” Islamist agenda of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is still being talked about. Every foreign policy decision is closely scrutinized by eagle-eyed analysts and journalists and of course by Turkey’s opposition parties, which are always on the lookout for any skullduggery or signs that the government is putting Turkey’s secular roots at risk. It’s fair to say that the government has given them plenty of fodder to get their teeth into: Prime Minister Erdoğan’s walkout during a debate with Shimon Peres at the Davos World Economic Forum, Turkey’s decision to veto Israel’s participation in a joint air force exercise (citing the Israeli leadership’s conduct in Gaza) and Erdoğan’s recent visit to Iran during which he declared Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as his friend and accused those countries which oppose Tehran’s atomic program of hypocrisy can serve as a few examples. Indeed the Iranian visit in particular raised many eyebrows in the West. Combine this with Turkey’s apparent disillusionment with the EU given the slow progress of its membership talks, and Turkey’s commitment to the West is brought into question. But is this enough to suggest that Turkey is shifting its foreign policy orientation? I would doubt that very much. Today Turkey’s foreign policy is famously focused on “zero problems with neighbors” and, given the fact that many of Turkey’s neighbors are part of the Muslim world, this means Turkey is bound to deal with them and build stronger relations even though they are countries (in the case of Syria and Iran, at least) that the West does not trust. Turkey has spent decades dealing with difficult neighbors, but to be taken as a serious regional power and increasing global player, Ankara needs to put its own house in order and move from acrimonious to positive relationships. This shift does not mean that Turkey’s historical relationship with the West is at risk — rather, it should complement it. Turkey’s reaction to Israel may have shocked many in the West, but these decisions were taken out of genuine anger and concern, not because of some prefabricated public relations campaign to win support from the Arab street. Turkey has for years been encouraging progress on the Arab-Israeli peace process and will continue to do so. On Iran, the fact is no country has the luxury of choosing its own neighbors. You have to make the best of what you have, and it would be unrealistic for the West to expect Turkey to have no relations with Tehran. Turkey needs cooperation with Iran on a whole range of issues, and the best way to go about this would hardly be for Turkey’s leadership to harshly criticize its leadership at every opportunity. Indeed while many in the West do not agree with the “friendly” relations between Erdoğan and Ahmadinejad, at the same they are not Iran’s neighbor and it is not they who risk having their gas cut off in the winter months or have Tehran refuse to cooperate on containing Kurdish militants. Furthermore, if Erdoğan manages to have the ear of the president, it can also be beneficial to the West. For an isolated, distrustful Iran, a friendly and powerful neighbor like Turkey is not to be snubbed. At the same time Turkey also has no interest in a nuclear Iran. Indeed, Turkey recently ordered advanced Patriot missile batteries from the US, which could be viewed as an action to defend itself against Iran’s missile program. Furthermore, the upgrading or relations is not limited to the Muslim world. The recent thawing of relations with Armenia — at the cost of risking relations with “Muslim kin” Azerbaijan — is an example. And then, of course, there is Russia. Such has been the dramatic increase in ties that some people even talk of a “Putinization” of Turkey. A scary thought, to say the least. While relations with the EU are difficult, they are progressing and Turkey still remains a valuable and dedicated member of NATO and a country that continues to contribute substantially to numerous peacekeeping and military operations around the globe. It seems to me that Turkey is not trying to re-establish the Ottoman Empire but is rather aiming for a smart foreign policy, a foreign policy that looks to the East and the West at the same time. There is no need to have a single geopolitical direction, no need to make a “choice.” This would not serve the interests of the country. So no one should expect Ankara to “resign” from NATO or quit its EU membership talks any time soon.

todays zaman

The anniversary of the death of the founder of modern Turkey turned into a heated debate Tuesday as the ruling party attempted to discuss in Parliament its Kurdish initiative to end the 25-year terror problem.

The ruling Justice and Development Party, or AKP, last week submitted a motion to Parliament requesting a discussion of its Kurdish initiative with opposition parties in Parliament on Tuesday. The date, Nov. 10, was the 71st anniversary of the death of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founder of the Turkish Republic.

Opposition parties reacted negatively to the chosen date, saying parliamentary discussion of the Kurdish initiative would likely overshadow commemoration activities.

Amid this opposition, the AKP brought the issue to Parliament on Tuesday for discussion. The Republican People’s Party, or CHP, and the Nationalist Movement Party, or MHP, submitted a motion to Parliament asking for the Kurdish move to be discussed another day and tension inside the hall started to grow.

Before the session, CHP leader Deniz Baykal held his party’s parliamentary group meeting and harshly criticized the AKP’s insistence on the Nov. 10 date, as well as the Kurdish initiative in general.

“We are witness to the first time in Turkish history that a plot is being staged and implemented by the ruling government against the accomplishments of the Republic. They are staging this plot in the name of developing democracy,” Baykal said, adding that the AKP’s inability to accept secularism has led to a constitutional conflict.

‘Discussion on Nov. 10 a plot’

Emphasizing the importance of preserving the principles and values of the Republic, which is Atatürk’s legacy, Baykal said: “We shouldn’t let ambushes wear down the Republic. We should oppose the ethnic-oriented discriminatory efforts.”

Baykal also criticized the AKP’s insistence on discussing the Kurdish move on the anniversary of Atatürk’s death and said such a move implied a kind of veiled plot against the founder’s accomplishments. “I don’t know whether the Nov. 10 date is coincidental, but it is a kind of contempt against the Turkish nation to discuss the issue on such a date,” the CHP leader said. “We should not forget such initiatives if they are demonstrated in a challenging way.”

Stating that “Nov. 10 is a day on which the flags are lowered to half-mast,” Baykal said: “A plan that targets the accomplishments of the Republic is being staged on such a day. Today, they are lowered to half-mast, but tomorrow they will rise again to where they have to be.”

Opposition parties submit motion

The opposition parties also offered harsh criticism against the Kurdish initiative and the AKP’s decision to hold the debate on Nov. 10 during the parliamentary session in which the initiative was discussed.

The CHP and MHP submitted a motion to Parliament asking for the Kurdish move to be discussed another day.

Mehmet Şandır, MHP parliamentary group leader, called the AKP’s move discriminatory.

“It is not right for such an issue to be discussed on the anniversary of Atatürk’s death,” Şandır said. “The AKP insisted on this day and it is very unfortunate to bring the issue to Parliament on such a date when the flags are lowered to half-mast. Who are you challenging?”

AKP Kahramanmaraş deputy Avni Doğan criticized the opposition’s approach and his speech sparked tension in the parliamentary hall. “The AKP says it brought a project of democracy, peace and unity. Today is not a day for mourning. You [the opposition], however, say Atatürk didn’t die but lives in our hearts but also refuse to discuss the Kurdish initiative saying that today is a day for mourning,” Doğan said.

“Kemalism doesn’t mean a deadlock and it anticipates making the terrorists come from down from the mountains,” Doğan said as he accused the opposition parties of applauding the military coup plotters.

His words sparked tension and CHP’s Kemal Anadol and MHP’s Şandır reacted strongly.

Banners interrupt Atalay’s words

Taking the floor, Hakkı Süha Okay, the CHP’s parliamentary group deputy leader, also criticized the AKP’s decision to discuss the Kurdish move on Nov. 10. “You [the AKP] couldn’t make the terrorists come down from the mountains. You welcomed them with a state ceremony and you chose Nov. 10 on purpose. It is a challenge and taking revenge from Atatürk,” he said.

The tension escalated again once Interior Minister Beşir Atalay, the coordinator of the government’s Kurdish move, took the floor. Banners that read “Atatürk, we are following your path” and “The Republic is your legacy and it is we who will perpetuate it” were opened by CHP deputies.

Atalay’s remark that the AKP represented all of Turkey and that the opposition parties represented only regions drew reactions from CHP and MHP deputies. The CHP’s Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu stood up and demanded to take the floor, but Atalay’s speech was interrupted when CHP deputies unveiled their banners.

Parliament speaker Mehmet Ali Şahin warned the CHP and MHP deputies that Parliament was not a rally. He called on the opposition deputies to lower the banners. He then recessed the session for five minutes and then started the session.

The parliamentary session continued into Tuesday evening.

Hurriyet Daily News

Armenians’ Choice (1)

by     :    Doğu Ergil 

date   :  08 November 2009, Sunday

In the latter case, there were two dozen 18-wheel trucks carrying construction material to the other side. The drivers were keen to continue their work when the border is opened with neighboring Armenia. Almost everyone, ranging from apathetic people to ultra-nationalists, is waiting for the border to open and for trade and travel to start. This feeling was mutual for many Armenians, most Turks and Azeris alike. They want to break out of their restricted world marked and closed by political borders, though nature put up few barriers to separate them. The economic and human potential at this corner of the Caucasus is so visible that when political differences are finally reconciled and ideological molds are shattered, entrepreneurship, partnerships and mutual investments will change the face of this region to an unrecognizable level in 10 years. People seem like athletes who are warming up before the big race.

The nationalist propaganda on all three sides (Turkey, Armenia and Azerbaijan) will have little opportunity to be effective. People on the Turkish side (Iğdır and Kars) and Nakhchivan on the other side of the border are pretty sure that after so much contact between Turkish and Azeri authorities, Turks would not let go of their Azeri brethren. With that being said, the locals also think that the conflict that erupted in the Nagorno-Karabakh region due to the style of management by Azeri authorities is a domestic Azeri problem. It has to be solved by Karabakh Armenians and Baku.

Again everyone in the region knows two more fundamental secrets: 1. If these territories are held for ransom by Armenia to secure a settlement on the Karabakh issue, Azeris are close to completing the training of their armed forces to settle the issue by means other than diplomatic ones. There is no doubt that this war will not last more than three days before “big powers” intervene and force a settlement. 2. The Karabakh region will be equipped with the most advanced rights of autonomy by the Azeri government and what is still debated is not this issue but the width of the Laçin corridor that unites Karabakh with Armenia. So everyone is looking to a promising future, not the problems of today.

While Armenians are under the spell of a past that they grieve over for the loss of lives and a homeland during the last decade of the Ottoman Empire, more of them are getting out of this spell without forgetting the past. They are opening up the psychological door to relations that will make their lives better and satisfy their needs. Some of these needs may be met in Turkey and through association with Turks who have nothing to do with painful and regrettable events of the past. For one thing, an increasing number of individuals and groups of Armenians choose Turkey as their favorite summer vacation site. Antalya, Turkey’s popular Mediterranean resort town, whose environs offer skiing on the mountains and swimming on the beaches, is the number one choice of Armenian tourists. Travel agents have discovered that the unsavory past does not hinder growing rapprochement between visiting Armenians and local Turks. In fact they are learning from each other and share what they have learned from their elders and official sources. This contact and ensuing discourse have brought the two peoples closer to each other and may have helped the signing of the protocols to soon initiate diplomatic and commercial relations.

There are other alluring factors that bring Armenians to Antalya and elsewhere in Turkey: low prices and high-quality customer service. In 2008, around 8,000 Armenians visited Antalya, but this year it is estimated that this number doubled. Armavia, an airline bearing the Armenian national flag, began four direct flights to Antalya each week from Yerevan, which are almost always full. Considering that visiting Armenians express their satisfaction with a range of travel options in Turkey and relatively low prices for good quality hotels and services, they leave sour feelings behind for a good vacation.

today’s zaman

Turkey is changing its shell

by : Mehmet Ali Birand

date : Thursday, November 5, 2009

Extremely interesting developments are taking place in the relationship between Turkey and the European Union. In fact not only in its relationship with the EU but also Turkey’s relation to external relations in general started to experience a change.

I describe it as “Turkey splitting from the West and sliding toward the East.” But the prime minister says, “No, we are not changing direction. We are only doing what we have to do.” It does not matter what you name it, what’s obvious is a change is taking place.

It would be easier if I give an example to explain what I mean.

During the Cold War, Turkey’s foreign relations were on a one-way road.

We were on the Western front and we called them allies. Usually there wouldn’t be any problem in our relationship with our allies in general. The opposite front was the communist front. We would treat them like an enemy.

Within this frame we would move in the direction of European countries and the U.S. Their politics would lead us. In the region, Israel would be described as our ally, and Iraq and Syria our enemy.

Now the balance has changed.

Especially during the past two or three years of the AKP administration new balances and new values emerged. What’s been experienced recently created an interesting impression of Turkey starting new experiments on external politics.

Turkey for the first time takes Eastern countries seriously

– Relations with Syria have advanced to a never-before-seen dimension. Both countries have started to act almost in unison. And this has naturally changed Ankara’s steps and direction.

– Rapprochement with Iraq and especially with northern Iraq is developing into a never-before-seen dimension. Baghdad and Arbil’s sensitivities are taken much more seriously by Ankara.

– Advances in the relation with Iran, Pakistan and Afghanistan have started to roll faster. Turkey now better understands these countries and takes their attitudes much more seriously than before.

– Relations with Israel, on the contrary, are worsening progressively. In relations that used to be carried out with extreme caution, boorishness seems to spread. It appears as if they want to punish Israel on every occasion.

– Besides all these changes, one other country progressively approached by Ankara is the United States. Especially since the Obama administration came to power, relations between Ankara and Washington have tightened incredibly.

– Relations with Russia warm up as well. Turkey started to position itself as a passageway for particularly Russia but also all other countries rich in energy resources.

Turkey’s relation with EU somehow doesn’t get on track

After looking at all these developments, when we ask ourselves, “So, where are relations with the European Union heading?” we are facing very interesting scenery.

Looked upon from the outside it seems Turkey and the EU are trying to split their way. The EU’s general reluctance still prevails. Brussels still gives the cold shoulder and Ankara does not seem enthusiastic about rolling up its sleeves to take action.

Especially French President Sarkozy’s general attitude is so negative that it does not signal any hope for Ankara. The same is true for German Prime Minister Merkel. Both quite often repeat that Turkey needs to content itself with a privileged partnership instead of full membership.

We are talking about two countries that are the founding members of the European Union. This means that it is impossible to realize a project that would be “negated” by these two countries. On one hand they keep saying that they are in favor of a continuation of negotiations and will decide over a full membership or privileged partnership down the road and will not hinder it. On the other hand they do not deny having started efforts to fill out the contents of a privileged partnership.

Sarkozy and Merkel take everybody’s enthusiasm

This attitude takes all the enthusiasm in the Turkish government as well as the business world.

The Turkish private sector hesitates to invest for the sake of meeting high cost liabilities required for the adaptation to the EU. No one intends to allocate resources to a subject with uncertain outcome while anxiety still persists due to an economic and financial crisis. It also pressures the government to speed up in the EU process.

Almost the same is true for the government.

The administration does not intent to allocate billions of euros as a resource while it still has a deficit in its budget and while it is uncertain what will happen next.

When there is lack of power for motivation then somehow the process does not speed up either.

Don’t get me wrong. Technical effort still continues but especially laws to ensure political criteria cannot pass under these uncertain conditions.

Turkey is in a new trial period

Let’s now answer the question asked in the beginning.

I think Turkey tries to satisfy the EU with different approaches and keep the relationship going rather than fulfilling criteria required for the membership process.

It tries to take steps which satisfy the EU in issues like the Armenian and Kurdish Initiative and Iran and Afghanistan issues, and it also tries to maintain the global picture with steps like signing Nabucco.

This is certainly in favor of some EU countries that would like to slow down the process.

We need to pay attention to the matter that Turkey does not slip into a trial period.

Turkey tries to find out whether the world would or would not spin without the EU and whether or not to create a new world. If it turns out to be a success then Turkey might continue its path by tightening its relation with the U.S. and get closer to countries in its own region.

But if this happens then Ankara might wish for the privileged partnership which it definitely denies today.

source: Hurriyet Daily News