From the CIAO Atlas Map of Europe Map of Middle East 

email icon Email this citation

CIAO DATE: 03/02

Turkey and Europe: Ongoing Hypocrisy?

Dietrich Jung

Copenhagen Peace Research Institute
September 2001


This article is the expression of a certain tiredness with a particular kind of security-related discourse between Turkey and the EU. It has not been written as an "attack on Turkey or the Turks", but as a rebuke for the hypocrites amongst both certain circles within Turkey's Kemalist establishment and some European politicians. While the former want to have their Europeanness confirmed without shaping a pluralistic and democratic Turkey, the latter are happy to hide their cultural and religious prejudice behind formal accession criteria.

To make it clear: this author considered the 1997 Luxembourg decision to reject Turkey's candidacy as utterly disgraceful and he strongly supports the correction that took place at the EU's Helsinki summit. But to support Turkey's candidacy for EU full-membership does not mean paying Ankara lip service. The author lived and worked for a year as a welcomed foreigner in Turkey and enjoyed the experience of Turkey's outstanding hospitality. Therefore, this article is written with a sincere and friendly intention. Its critique is intended to contribute to an open discussion that might serve Turkey's way into the EU more than the hymns of praise some of Turkey's "friends" frequently sing.

The recent dispute between ANAP leader Mezud Yilmaz and the Turkish military has again highlighted the role of security issues in Turkish-European relations. On the occasion of the ANAP convention in August 2001, Deputy Prime Minister Mezud Yilmaz stated that Turkey was suffering from a "national security syndrome" and that national security issues are used to block necessary democratic reforms. 1 The harsh reaction against Yilmaz from within both the military and the political establishment indicates that the leader of ANAP had indeed hit a sore point. It is this sore point and its historical and social construction in Turkish-European relations to which the main argument of the following article is related.

This recent row between Yilmaz and the military also suggests that the argument of this article is not as wrong as two reviewers previously claimed. It was submitted to a policy-oriented journal in the spring of 2001. However, the subsequent review process ultimately evaluated the article negatively, with two out of three reviewers rejecting its publication altogether. Therefore, a resubmission actually would have meant basing the article on an entirely new argument. Considering the fact that the author is still convinced that his original argument makes sense, he decided to publish the text as a working paper. Thus, the article should be seen as a piece of work in progress, and, in this way, invite readers to further comments and criticism.


Note 1: Turkish Daily News, 9 August 2001. Back