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Turkey Watch: EU Member States Perceptions on Turkeys Accession to the EU ISBN: 978-605-89751-2-5 A publication of the Center for European

Studies, Middle East Technical University Any part of this publication may be fully reproduced in any form for educational or non-profit uses with appropriate acknowledgement. No use of this publication may be made for resale or other commercial purposes without prior written permission of the Center for European Studies, Middle East Technical University, Ankara, Turkey. SInAN logosu ve Strengthening and Integrating Academic Networks(SInAN) Publication funded by the Strengthening and Integrating Academic Networks(SInAN) project (Grant Contract Nr. TR0604.01-03/092) which is implemented by the Center for European Studies, Middle East Technical University under the Programme Promotion of Civil Society Dialogue between the EU and Turkey: Universities Grant Scheme in coordination with the Secretariat General for EU Affairs. The contracting authority for this project is the Central Finance and Contracts Unit The contents and publications of the SInAN project are the sole responsibility of the Center for European Studies, Middle East Technical University and can in no way be taken to reflect the views of the European Union. The opinions expressed herein are only those of the authors and do not reflect any institutional views. Page and Cover design by Ylmaz Alaahan First Published: November 2009 Printed in Turkey by Zeplin letiim Hizmetleri Ltd. ti. 6. Cadde 45/2, Birlik Mahallesi, ankaya 06610 Ankara-Turkey Center for European Studies, FEAS B-Building, Middle East Technical University, 06531, Ankara, Turkey

Acknowledgments First of all, we are grateful to all our authors of this volume for putting a lot of effort and time in preparing their contributions. We would like to thank, Aime Lindenmayer Ay, who worked very hard to edit and proof read all the chapters in this volume on EU Member States Perceptions on Turkeys Accession to the EU. And also, we are thankful to Berat Tapnar, who helped us in preparing the volume for publication, at the Center for European Studies, METU. Last but not least, we are all obliged to our families and friends who have been there for us in all desperate and stressful times throughout the project. Thank you all for your patience and understanding...

Sait Akit, idem stn Introduction: In Search of an EU-wide Debate on Turkey .......... 6 Nicolas Monceau French Perceptions..................................................................... 16 Katrin Bttger, Eva-Maria Maggi German Perceptions ................................................................... 32 Yvonne Nasshoven Belgian Perceptions ................................................................... 46 Emiliano Alessandri with Sebastiano Sali Italian Perceptions...................................................................... 58 Eduard Soler i Lecha & Irene Garca Spanish Perceptions ................................................................... 74 Athanasios C. Kotsiaros Greek Perceptions ...................................................................... 90 Gunilla Herolf Swedish Perceptions ................................................................ 104 Cengiz Gnay Austrian Perceptions ................................................................ 118

Costas Melakopides Greek Cypriot Perceptions....................................................... 132 Petr Kratochvl, David Krl, Dominika Drailov Czech Perceptions.................................................................... 150 Adam Szymaski Polish Perceptions.................................................................... 166 Iulia Serafimescu, Mihai Sebe Romanian Perceptions ............................................................. 186 Marin Lessenski Bulgarian Perceptions .............................................................. 204 zgehan enyuva, Sait Akit Turkey Seen from the EU: Conclusions .................................. 218

Sait Akit, idem stn1 Introduction: In Search of an EU-wide Debate on Turkey

Turkey was accepted as an eligible candidate for EU membership at the Helsinki Summit in December 1999, and began her negotiations process for membership in October 2005. This was a period with very positive developments in the relations between Turkey and the EU, leading to a series of reform packages in Turkey with an aim to fulfil the needs and requirements of Turkeys aspiration of membership. The same period corresponded to an important era of developments and attempts, first by the Ecevit government and then by the Gl and Erdoan governments, to transform Turkeys internal and external policies. At times, these attempts provided serious challenges on very sensitive issues. Some of the important developments of the period are the reconsideration of Turkeys foreign policy priorities and attempts at solving long-standing disputes, such as the problematic relations with Greece and the question of Cyprus. Things have changed since the start of the negotiations process, and the period between 2006 and 2009 has had its ups and downs; in fact, more downs than ups. This has various reasons. One of the most expressed criticisms of this period has been the

Research Fellows, Center for European Studies, Middle East Technical University. The opinions expressed herein are only those of the authors and do not reflect any institutional views.

assessment that Turkey has not accomplished much since 2006. In fact, the reform process was argued to have slowed down, and at times to have come to a halt. On the European Union side, the lack of progress in Turkeys reform process is cited as an important reason for lack of progress in the negotiations process. Shortly after the start of the negotiations process, these claims were coupled with calls, on the EU side, for alternatives to Turkeys full membership. This corresponded with the change of leadership, first in Germany and then in France. German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who came to power in November 2005, strongly advocated a privileged membership of Turkey rather than full membership. This position was also asserted by French President Nicolas Sarkozy, who was elected to the French presidency in May 2007, first during his election campaign and later during his presidency. The election of the adamantly-opposed Sarkozy to the presidency meant a turning point in Frances official position on Turkeys membership to the EU2, and was followed up by what was perceived in Turkey as an alternative for full membership: the proposal of the Union for the Mediterranean. Thus, in Turkey, the picture seems more mixed. First, it is believed that there is an increasing ambiguity in the messages given to Turkey by the institutions of the European Union as well as by the leaders of some EU member states, including Merkel and Sarkozy. The proposals for an alternative to membership, plus political statements and comments on Turkeys sensitive internal and external policy issues, have reinforced the feeling of ambiguity; this has led to a commonly held belief that some of the

As also put forward by Nicolas Monceau in his chapter for this book.

leaders of EU member states are creating new conditions and obstacles which are not officially part of the accession negotiations process, with an aim to keep Turkey out. Indeed, in Turkey it was expected that the accession process would not be easy after the EU membership of the Republic of Cyprus3, whose citizens largely perceive Turkey as the main party responsible for a lack of resolution to the Cyprus problem. These concerns proved to be true, with the unofficial Greek Cypriot blockage of certain chapters of the negotiations process, and the fears of a train crash in December 2006. Indeed, Turkeys process of negotiations proved to be more difficult, and the road to membership thornier, than envisaged. The calls for a privileged partnership, the proposal of the Union for the Mediterranean, the pressure on the extension of the protocol of the Ankara agreement to include Cyprus, and the calls for the opening of air and sea ports to Cyprus are all strongly perceived in Turkey as trials intended to create new obstacles or promote an alternative relationship with Turkey. Furthermore, the EUs ongoing debate on Turkeys Europeanness and repeated questioning of the nature of Turkeys candidacy only reinforce the myths and prejudices regarding the EU, in Turkey. We believe that there are serious, damaging myths and prejudices in Turkey about the EU, on the one hand, and in the EU member states about Turkey, on the other. One of the starting points of the project on Strengthening and Integrating Academic
As officially named, the Republic of Cyprus, although accepted by the EU to represent the whole island in the EU, is not representative of the Turkish Cypriot Community on the island. The Republic of Cyprus in this volume therefore refers to the Greek Cypriot administered part of the island, and perceptions in Cyprus refers to Greek Cypriot perceptions.

Networks (SInAN) was to question the myths and prejudices embedded in this ambiguous relationship. This edited volume is an attempt to outline how Turkeys candidacy is perceived by different actors in a number of EU member states. While Turkish membership to the European Union, its opportunities and challenges for all parties are widely discussed, it is rather difficult to find comprehensive analysis that brings together the positions and arguments of different actors in different countries. In fact, at a very general level, it is argued that Turkeys accession into the European Union is one of the most controversial and divisive topics deeply dividing both the EU governments and their citizens. Indeed, there is very limited literature on the European perceptions on Turkeys membership into the EU, and almost none that tries to tackle all relevant stakeholders, such as the government, the opposition, the public and the elites, by exploring their views and examining the media coverage of those views within different countries.4 This volume is an output of the project on Strengthening and Integrating Academic Networks (SInAN), funded by the European Union under the Promotion of Civil Society Dialogue between the EU and Turkey: Universities Grant Scheme. Turkey Watch has its origins in the early stages of the SInAN proposal aiming to follow the example of EU-27 Watch5, prepared under the
One exception to this is the TEPAV-IAI Talking Turkey series; Natalie Tocci (ed.), Talking Turkey in Europe: Towards a Differentiated Communication Strategy, Quaderni IAI, December 2008. Also, for some detailed analysis on European public opinion, see Antonia R. Jimnez and Ignacio T. Pay, European Public Opinion and Turkeys Accession: Making Sense of Argument For or Against, EPIN, European Policy Institutes Network Working Paper no. 16, 2007. 5

EU-CONSENT project which was coordinated by our partner, Jean Monnet Centre, University of Cologne. With this publication, the Center for European Studies, Middle East Technical University, as the main coordinator of SInAN, intends to question the myths that characterise the terms of the current debate on Turkeys EU integration process and to facilitate better knowledge and understanding of Turkey within the EU and of the EU within Turkey. Although the envisaged content of the volume has changed over time, resulting in views from different EU member states on Turkish candidacy to the EU, the main objectives remained the same. Turkey Watch addresses one general question, which is the following: How has Turkeys candidacy been perceived in EU member states between the years 2006 and 2009? We asked different experts from the member states to take up the question, and to give qualitative insights by considering the perceptions of some of the main actors in their respective countries: the governments, the opposition parties, the civil society organisations and the media. Different experts provided us with insights on France, Germany, Belgium, Italy, Spain, Greece, Sweden, Austria, Republic of Cyprus6, Czech Republic, Poland, Romania, and Bulgaria. This particular group of EU member states reflects a number of concerns. First, it represents a wide geographical distribution, including member states from southern, northern, central and eastern Europe. Second, the group includes member states from each successive enlargement process of the European Union. Third, it includes core, old, new, small and large member states. Fourth, it includes EU neighbours of Turkey, and states

See footnote 3.

which have good economic relations with Turkey. Fifth, it includes states which officially have a supportive position for Turkeys bid for membership, although some show only conditional support, and states which have a negative position on Turkeys membership. These scholarly attempts to tackle all relevant stakeholders collectively support our assumption: Although perceived and long accepted as an elite-driven process, the EU integration process must take into consideration the perceptions of different actors for a better understanding of the various dimensions of Turkeys bid for membership.7 With the various country studies, we have tried to find answers to the following questions, through a consideration of the period between 2006 and 2009:

How strong is the debate on Turkey? How informed is the debate on Turkey? What forms the basis of the perceptions of the different actors? Are there certain myths and prejudices that dominate the debate on Turkey in these countries? What are the reasons and motives in support for or opposition to Turkeys membership? What are some of the perceived opportunities and challenges presented by Turkeys membership? Is there convergence of arguments in favour of or against Turkey on a cross-country basis? Should perceptions on Turkeys membership be

See zgehan enyuva, Turkey European Union Relations: A Quest for Mass and Elite Opinion SInAN Newsletter 2, 2009.

considered within a broader context such as that of future of Europe? Indeed, comprehensive answers to these questions need further exploration. This volume is an endeavour to contribute to such studies.

Overview of the Book In his analysis of the French perceptions on Turkeys accession to the EU, Nicolas Monceau points out that France is one of the EU members where the public debate on Turkey is the most intense and controversial. Monceau presents the main factors that explain the opposition in France, at the elite and the public level, and looks at whether there are any dividing lines across the parties and the leaders. Katrin Bttger and Eva-Maria Maggi argue that there are diverging positions on the question of Turkeys accession in Germany, and point to different lines of argumentation which raise a comprehensive list of questions. Yvonne Nasshoven, on the other hand, spotlights a limited debate on Turkeys candidacy in Belgium, due largely to its internal difficulties. However, the Belgian stance deserves exploration due to the countrys large Turkish population, and the fact that Belgian Prime Minister Hermann von Rompuy is to take the office of the President of the European Council for two and a half years, between 2009 and 2012. Emiliano Alessandris contribution, with Sebastiano Sali, on Italian perceptions is particularly interesting, as Italy is one of Turkeys strongest supporters when it comes to integration into the

EU. As such, the perceptions of different actors and the interlinkages between them remain interesting issues to be explored. Similar to Italy, Spain is one of the most supportive states of Turkeys entry into the EU. Eduard Soler i Lecha and Irene Garca evaluate the Spanish position, and question whether this official support is reflected at different levels. Athanasios C. Kotsiaros, on the other hand, points to a supportive but reluctant position in Greece, in his evaluation of the elements of support and opposition to Turkeys accession. Swedish contributor Gunilla Herolf draws a picture of conditional support for Turkeys membership, revealing that her countrys interest largely lies in Turkeys reform process. Alongside Germany and France, Austria and the Republic of Cyprus can be counted among the most ardent opponents of Turkeys accession to the European Union. Cengiz Gnay discusses various elements and concerns with respect to the Austrian opposition, and links these to concerns in Austria which go beyond the simple debate on Turkey. Costas Melakopides evaluation of the Greek Cypriot perceptions raises very controversial points and issues for Turkey, and shows how prejudicial a community, the Greek Cypriot community, can be in this particular issue The debate on Turkeys candidacy is more limited in some of the new members of the EU, as expressed by different experts. The Czech contribution by Petr Kratochvl, David Krl and Dominika Drailov, and the Polish contribution by Adam Szymaski both point to the limited nature of debate, while questioning the determinants of support and opposition for Turkeys membership. Iulia Serafimescu and Mihai Sebe, on the other hand, take up the question for Romania by largely

concentrating on regional factors. Bulgaria is a most interesting case, given the large Turkish minority in the country and the political role it has played since the early 1990s. In this final contribution, Marin Lessenski looks at the factors that inform and influence the Bulgarian perception, by concentrating on the images created by the Turkish minority, the bilateral relations, and the historical and cultural context that has shaped the relations between the two neighbouring countries.



Nicolas Monceau* French Perceptions

Abstract France is one of the European countries in which the issue of Turkeys accession to the EU has sparked off the most intense public debate, often controversial in tone, during recent years. This may initially seem surprising, insofar as for centuries Turkey and France have shared close ties in many historical, political and economic areas. This report first draws the evolution of the French public opinion dealing with Turkeys accession to the EU in the past years. It presents the main factors political, economic, cultural and social explaining French majority opposition, both in the elites and the public. Then the report focuses on the political field in France, underlining the strong divide between French political parties and leaders facing Turkeys accession to the EU. It shows how French political perceptions of Turkeys accession to the EU are linked to different conceptions of Europe and presents the evolution of Frances official position on Turkeys membership to the EU since the election of Nicolas Sarkozy as French President in 2007. The report concludes with the role of the French media in launching a public debate in France on Turkeys accession to the EU.

The opinions expressed herein are only those of the author and do not reflect any institutional views.

Introduction France is one of the European countries in which the issue of Turkeys accession to the EU has sparked off the most intense public debate, often controversial in tone, during recent years. This may initially seem surprising, insofar as for centuries Turkey and France have shared close ties in many historical, political and economic areas. Three main steps can be identified in the development of French perceptions about Turkeys accession to the EU. First of all, the year 2002 marks a milestone in the media coverage of the Turkish issue in France. In November 2002, Valry Giscard d'Estaing, then chairman of the Convention on the future of Europe, launched the debate in France on the subject of Turkeys Europeanness, asserting that as Turkey is not located in Europe, its accession would mark the end of the EU. In the same month, the Justice and Development Party (Adalet ve Kalkinma Partisi, or AKP)'s victory in Turkeys general elections led to the formation of a new government described by the French media as moderate Islamist. In 2004 and 2005, Turkeys application came under debate as a political issue during the French campaign for the European elections, followed in May 2005 by the referendum on the European Constitution and the membership negotiations between Turkey and the EU begun in October. Finally, in 2007, the election of Nicolas Sarkozy as French President marks a


turning point in Frances official stance towards Turkeys accession to the EU1.

A Majority of French Citizens Against Turkeys Accession to the EU Most of the opinion polls tend to show the same findings: at the European level, France, along with Germany, Austria and Greece, demonstrates the strongest popular opposition to Turkeys accession to the EU. According to the Eurobarometer2, a majority of French citizens expressed reservations about the prospect of Turkey joining the EU. In autumn 2006, 69% of French citizens interviewed were opposed to Turkey becoming a member of the EU in the future, while 22% expressed the opposite view3. Other international public opinion surveys, such as the Transatlantic Trends, confirm the same tendencies. French opposition appears stable over time, even tending to increase in recent years: varying from 64% to 69% between spring 2002 and autumn 2006, and reaching 71% in spring 2008. During the same period, the proportion of positive opinion also increases, but only slightly (from 19% to 22%). The decrease of No opinion since 2002 is also an indicator of the impact of the

Bruno Cautrs et Nicolas Monceau, La Tentation du refus ? Europens, Franais et Turcs face ladhsion de la Turquie lUnion europenne, Paris, Presses de Sciences Po, 2010. 2 When another source is not mentioned, all the percentages quoted in the report are from the Eurobarometers. 3 Eurobaromtre 66. Lopinion publique dans lUnion europenne. Automne 2006. Rapport national France, Brussels, january 2007.

public debate about the Turkish issue on the shaping of public opinion. French opposition to Turkeys full accession to the EU can be viewed within the more general opposition to EU enlargement expressed in recent years. In spring 2007, 60% of French respondents are opposed to the EU enlargement while 32% expressed the opposite view4. In national opinion polls carried out by IFOP in December 2002, June 2003, and in June and September 2004, between 56% and 61% of French respondents expressed negative opinions concerning Turkeys accession to the EU5. What are the main factors explaining French majority opposition to Turkey's accession to the EU? The political, economic, cultural and migratory dimensions of Turkish-European relations play an important role in French perceptions of Turkish membership to the EU. In autumn 2006, economic and political conditionality is supported by a large majority of French respondents, particularly in the issue of human rights. Fears of encouraging immigration from Turkey are also widely shared by the French. Last but not least, cultural non-compatibility, an argument often raised in the debates about Turkeys Europeanness, features among the main concerns of the French. In June 2008, Turkey's accession to the EU appeared not to represent a priority in the opinions of French citizens or leaders.
Eurobaromtre 67. Lopinion publique dans lUnion europenne. Printemps 2007. Rapport national France, Brussels, july 2007. 5 The main resultats of these surveys are available on the Website of IFOP (, in particular the following : Les Europens et la Turquie, survey carried out by IFOP in December 2004 in five European countries (France, Germany, England, Italy and Spain).

Indeed, Turkeys potential accession to the EU was ranked in thirteenth position among the three topics of most concern to the French (with 6% of respondents), while no leader interviewed expressed concern about this issue. Similarly, as a matter of foreign policy, Turkish membership was ranked respectively at sixth and fourth place among the concerns of the population (14% of respondents) and of the elite (13%). Finally, Turkeys potential accession to the EU was not regarded by the French as one of the two priority topics to be handled by President Sarkozy during the French Presidency of the EU in 20086. Both the French population and the elite adopt similar positions, which translate as a majority opposition to Turkey joining the EU. In June 2008, 62% and 63% of respondents from the general public and among the "Top Leaders" do not support Turkeys accession to the EU, of which 36% not at all among the general public. In contrast, 35% and 37% were in favour, of which 6% very favourable, among the citizens and leaders interviewed. An analysis based on social categories reveals significant variations. Older generations are more reluctant to accept Turkey's membership than the new ones. Indeed, opposition to Turkey's accession appears higher, the older the population. Similarly, political orientations seem to play a significant role in the French perception of Turkey's application. The supporters of Sgolne Royal in the 1st round of the 2007 presidential election are more likely to favour Turkeys accession (54%) than those who voted for Franois Bayrou (36%) or Nicolas Sarkozy (21%). However,

Survey on the image of Turkey in France, commissioned by the Turkish Embassy in Paris and carried out in June 2008 by OpinionWay, to a representative sample of the population and a panel of French leaders.

these results merit explanation, insofar as nearly half of all French citizens surveyed (42%), who in June 2008 declared themselves opposed to Turkeys accession (that is, 62% of the sample), would nevertheless be in favour of Turkeys membership to the EU in the future if it meets all the criteria (legal, economic and political) as defined by the European Council. The same goes for 25% of leaders surveyed who expressed their opposition in 2008. We observe here again that time plays an important role in the perception of Turkey's application. Among the reasons for opposition to Turkeys accession to the EU: Turkey is not considered to be a European country either geographically or culturally for 48% of citizens and 74% of the leaders interviewed. Political and legal arguments prevail for the general public Turkey will never be a truly secular country (19%) or a true democracy (14%) while the elite place emphasis on Turkeys over-preponderance in the EU owing to its population (13%). French popular perception of Turkey also throws light on the respective places of these arguments in the national imagination. For the majority of respondents, Turkey is a country with a rich history (84% of citizens and 100% of leaders). It is also perceived as a young country, culturally vibrant, turned towards the future and economically dynamic. Nearly half of the people and one third of the elite polled believe ultimately that Turkey can make an important contribution to Europe. But Turkey is considered by only a minority of respondents to be democratic (38% of residents and 32% of leaders), secular (37% and 55%) and respectful of human rights (27% and 10% of positive opinions). In conclusion, other findings show that the French public has limited knowledge of Turkey as a country, its history, culture, political

system and economic and social realities. A Turkish Season launched in France between July 2009 and March 2010 should encourage citizens to gain more insight into this country. In 2009, French perceptions of Turkeys EU candidacy seem to be evolving more positively. After President Obamas statement in favour of Turkey's accession to the EU at the EUUnited States summit in Prague in April 2009, 50% of French citizens interviewed said that they were against and 35% in favour. Supporters of the Centre-Right Democratic Movement expressed a majority of negative opinions to Turkish accession (71%), followed by right-wing (67%) and left-wing supporters (41%). Among the French respondents in favour of Turkeys accession, 49% are left-wing supporters, 21% are MoDem sympathizers and 19% from the right. These results reflect an increase in the French support of Turkeys accession to the EU in comparison to previous opinion polls. In June 2005, a survey on the same topic obtained results of 66% against, 28% in favour and 6% no opinion. Finally, the French viewpoint on Turkeys accession to the EU can also be explained by additional factors not regularly gauged by opinion surveys. The role of secularism in French society is certainly a factor to take into consideration and in particular the impact of public debates raised in the past about the wearing of Islamic headscarves in public. In 2004, a law adopted according to the recommendations of the Stasi commission banned religious symbols in French state schools. Such debates are likely to have an influence on French public opinion towards Turkeys application, which is seen as a Muslim country where issues of secularism and religion in the public domain are regularly

discussed. Frances perception of the Islamic religion, due to its colonial past (especially in North Africa), plus the importance given to the devoir de mmoire (duty of remembrance), which led France to officially recognize the Armenian genocide in 2001, are also significant factors which may explain French views on Turkeys accession to the EU.

A (Strong) Divide Between Political Parties and Leaders In the political field, French perceptions of Turkeys accession to the EU have created a split within French political parties and leaders since the early 2000s. Turkeys application for full membership to the EU has gone beyond national political divisions, resulting in opposition from both right and left. The table below shows the - positive or negative - stances of the main French political parties, and of their leaders, towards Turkey's accession to the EU.
In favour Nationalist parties National Front Conservative parties Union for a Popular Movement (UMP) Jacques Chirac, Pierre Lellouche Nicolas Sarkozy, Alain Jupp, Jean-Pierre Raffarin, Jean-Franois Cop Philippe de Villiers Frdric Nihous Jean-Marie Le Pen Against

Movement for France (MPF) Hunt, Fish, Nature, Traditions (CPNT)


Arise the Republic Centrist parties Democratic Movement (MoDem - formerly Union for French Democracy) New Center (NC) Green parties The Greens Parliamentary left parties Socialist Party (PS) Michel Rocard, Pierre Moscovici, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Sgolne Royal, Martine Aubry Marie-Georges Buffet Dominique Voynet, Daniel Cohn-Bendit

Nicolas Dupont-Aignan

Franois Bayrou, Valry Giscard dEstaing, Jean-Louis Bourlanges Herv Morin

Laurent Fabius, Hubert Vdrine, Robert Badinter, Max Gallo

French Communist Party Far-left parties Revolutionary Communist League, New Anticapitalist Party (NPA) Workers Struggle (LO)

Olivier Besancenot

Arlette Laguiller

Nationalist, right-wing and centrist parties are mostly against Turkey's accession to the EU, while the far-left and leftwing parties seem to be more divided. The Greens and the French Communist Party support Turkeys accession to the EU within the framework of the conditions set up by the Copenhagen criteria. The geographical, cultural and religious arguments are more favoured by the right-wing parties while the political conditionality

(respect for human rights and minorities) - and the Armenian issue for the Socialist Party - are underlined by the left-wing parties. Valry Giscard d'Estaing was one of the first French political leaders to reject Turkey's accession to the EU on geographical grounds. In November 2002, in an interview published by Le Monde that provoked a vigorous public debate in France about Turkey, he stated : Turkey is a country with close ties to Europe, an important country with a real elite, but it is not a European country. (...) Its capital is not within Europe, 95% of its population is outside of Europe: this is not a European country. The cultural and religious arguments, which focus on the threat of a conflict of civilizations between Islamic and Western cultures and values, were also often cited by many right-wing and centrist political leaders, such as Franois Bayrou, chairman of the Democratic Movement, or Jean-Pierre Raffarin, former Prime Minister in 2002-2005. Beyond the divide between left and right sides, the issue of Turkey's accession to the EU has also created divisions within French leading political parties and the government. Within the Gaullist movement, former President Jacques Chirac has supported Turkeys "European vocation" for years. He played an important role in supporting Turkeys application on the European scene, in particular in the decision of the Helsinki European Council in December 1999 to grant the status of candidate country to Turkey. However, in October 2004, President Chirac stated that he wished to submit any further EU enlargement to a compulsory referendum, so hoping to dissociate the Turkish issue and the debate on the European Constitution. In this way, the French would be consulted by referendum on Turkey's accession to the

EU. The issue of a compulsory referendum about Turkeys accession to the EU was raised again in summer 2008 on the occasion of the debate about the revision of the French Constitution. While the abolition of a compulsory referendum for the ratification of any new accession to the EU was considered, MPs voted for a provision rendering a referendum compulsory for EU accession of countries whose population represents more than 5% of the total EU population, which is true in Turkeys case. In the end, the French Senate decided to cancel the provision. In the years 2002-2007, President Chiracs support for Turkeys application to the EU appears to have been at odds with the presidential party stand (UMP) and the parliamentary majority. During the campaign for European Parliament elections, Turkeys application was used as a major campaign argument by some political parties. In April 2004, the UMP and its then chairman Alain Jupp distanced itself from Jacques Chirac and stated its opposition to Turkey's accession to the EU. The presidential party formulated a "privileged partnership" with Turkey as an alternative to full membership. This kind of partnership has been promoted in Europe, especially in French and German public debates in recent years. It aims to maintain the cohesion of the EU while ensuring the stability of its borders. The election of Nicolas Sarkozy as French President on 6 May 2007, inaugurated a turning point in France's official position on Turkeys membership to the EU. Throughout the presidential campaign, particularly during the debate between the two candidates Sgolne Royal and Nicolas Sarkozy, the latter reasserted his opposition to Turkeys accession in the event of his

election. Quoting geographical arguments - "Turkey is Asia Minor" - he proposed an alternative in the form of a Union for the Mediterranean, which was officially launched in Paris in July 2008 with the participation of Turkish Prime Minister Recep T. Erdogan. In reaction to the support given by U.S. President Barack Obama to Turkeys accession to the EU at the EU-United States Summit in Prague in April 2009, President Sarkozy reiterated his opposition to this prospect. Beyond the left-right division, positions on Turkey differ along with the visions of the future of the EU. Indeed, Turkey's candidacy goes beyond the partisan opposition to bring together, on both sides, those who defend the idea of a European power. The latter, Laurent Fabius and Franois Bayrou among them, oppose the entry of Turkey into the EU on the pretext that it would severely threaten the political construction of Europe. On the other hand, Turkey's application is championed by both the right and the left for geopolitical reasons. In this way, Pierre Lellouche, one of the few representatives of the UMP to support Turkey's accession to the EU who was appointed as Secretary of State for European Affairs in June 2009, and Dominique Strauss-Kahn for the PS concur in their analysis of the geopolitical significance of Turkey in Europe. Turkey's candidacy also raises objections within the current French government. President Sarkozys opinions are not shared by a number of ministers, such as the minister of Foreign Affairs, the socialist Bernard Kouchner, and the Secretary of State for European Affairs from 2007 to December 2008, Jean-Pierre Jouyet, who have both reiterated their support for Turkey's accession to the EU.

If nowadays right-wing and centrist parties are mostly opposed to Turkeys membership of the EU, the Socialist Party seems to be more divided on the issue. In recent years, the PS has provided a measured support to Turkeys accession in the long run, and its status of candidate country was recognised by the European Council in 1999 when Lionel Jospin was Prime Minister. However, the Turkish issue raises significant opposition within the party. Some of its members, such as Laurent Fabius, Hubert Vdrine or Robert Badinter, are openly opposed to Turkeys accession for a variety of reasons. Others are more supportive of the prospect, such as Dominique Strauss-Kahn, currently director of the IMF, or Pierre Moscovici, former minister of European affairs and PS national secretary for international relations, who is in favour of a "reasoned yes" to Turkey's accession if it meets the Copenhagen criteria. Out of all the French Socialist leaders, Michel Rocard, former Prime Minister, has shown the most support for the Turkish candidacy in recent years. He participated in an Independent Commission on Turkey, which in September 2004 issued a report supporting the opening of accession negotiations with the EU if Turkey fulfilled the Copenhagen political criteria. Similarly, Rocard has engaged in public debate on numerous occasions for Turkeys accession to the EU, defending his views in the book Yes to Turkey, published in September 2008. Sgolne Royal has long declared that the issue of Turkeys membership should be left to the French people to decide. During the 2007 presidential campaign, she then claimed that she was in favour of Turkeys accession on principle but that the EU needed to put the procedure on hold. Finally, several leading politicians from both left and right who previously supported Turkeys membership, have also changed their minds

about Turkeys accession to the UE, including Alain Jupp, former Prime Minister, Michel Barnier, former Minister of Foreign Affairs and more recently Bernard Kouchner. In Spring 2009, the Turkish issue came back strongly into the French political arena on the occasion of the campaign for the European elections. President Sarkozy played a major role in making Turkeys accession to the EU a major issue in the European elections. He stated his opposition to Turkeys accession to the EU, both in a speech at a UMP meeting in Nmes in May and during a joint declaration with the chancellor of Germany, Angela Merkel, in Berlin on 10 May 2009. Sarkozys stance provoked a number of reactions within the EU, in particular from European countries whose governments support Turkeys membership to the EU, such as Poland, Portugal or Sweden. As regards the French media, in particular radio and television, one may say that they do not have a specific stand concerning Turkeys accession to the EU. In recent years, the national press has mostly broadcasted the positions held by the opinion leaders, such as the academics or the politicians, especially in specific sections such as Opinions (in Le Monde or Le Figaro) or Rebonds (Libration). For instance, Le Monde played an important role in launching a public debate in France when it headlined on the front page the interview with Giscard dEstaing in November 2002, which was then followed with many reactions in the same sections.


Conclusion In conclusion, French perceptions of Turkeys accession to the EU have shown a stable and majority opposition, both in the public and the elites, for the last years. However, some recent opinion polls may give a more optimistic view of French perceptions, when more citizens answer that they agree with Turkeys membership to the EU in the future if it fulfills the required criteria. In parallel, French perceptions have revealed the great divide among EU countries in the face of Turkeys accession to the EU. Sarkozys stance during the campaign for the European elections in 2009 has not been followed by many national governments within the EU. In this prospect, the evolution of French perceptions in the coming years will also be linked to the place and influence of France within Europe.



Katrin Bttger, Eva-Maria Maggi* German Perceptions

Introduction When analyzing the German perception of Turkish candidacy for EU-membership, diverging positions can be observed in the media, in the government and opposition parties as well as in civil society. These diverging arguments mostly follow the lines of three subjects with opposing positions that are advanced to different degrees by the actors. The first subject is the question of identity. Here, the two extremes are the following: On the one side stands the argument that the relationship between a Christian European Union and a Muslim Turkey is that of a Clash of Civilizations, while on the other side, humanitarian thinking is the reference point and being advocated at the same time. The second subject by which the perception of Turkish EUmembership is pervaded concerns institutional (in)stability. Here, arguments concern either the EUs outdated internal structure or the Turkish political system. While some argue that Turkey is not ready for accession, other actors stress the fact that Turkey will not enter the EU before it is ready and fulfils the necessary criteria
Dr. des. Katrin Bttger is Research Associate at the Institut fr Europische Politik, Berlin; Eva-Maria Maggi is Ph.D candidate at the Helmut-Schmidt University Hamburg. The article results form the IEP-Programme Dialogue Europe of the Otto Wolff-Foundation. *The opinions expressed herein are only those of the author and do not reflect any institutional views.

anyway. A third line of argumentation deals with strategic geopolitics and security. Here, one side argues that a Turkish EUmembership would bring the conflicts of Iraq, Iran and Afghanistan closer too close to the EU, while the other side sees Turkey as a buffer or even a bridge between Europe and the Arab world. It has to be noted however, that not all actors promoting or opposing Turkish EU membership make use of all the arguments systematized above.

By the Media Some parts of the German media have been constantly engaged with the Turkish EU accession process during the last years. The nature of this engagement has changed recently, whereas the main attitude towards Turkeys accession stays divided. Other print media, TV and radio stations remain notably quiet. Instead, the integration of Turkish immigrants in Germany is a steady topic. Along the lines of their political (party) orientation, German newspapers are divided into a group of accession supporters on the one side and critics on the other. The mostly conservative newspapers Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ) and Die Welt have analyzed the accession process quite sceptically and would rather prefer an alternative affiliation of Turkey, such as the privileged partnership proposed by the Christian Democratic Party (CDU) in 2004. Their arguments emphasize the differences between Turkey and the European Union drawing upon cultural

heritages, identities and history.1 In contrast to this, the more liberal/left-leaning newspapers like the Sddeutsche Zeitung (SZ) and the Frankfurter Rundschau have generally assessed Turkeys ambitions to join the EU positively, dependent on the speed of the reform-process initiated by the Turkish government to fulfil the accession criteria. Other newspapers, like the left-leaning Tageszeitung or the tabloid Bild do not present the issue as a central topic. Rather, domestic questions like the integration of Turkish immigrants in Germany are emphasized. Interestingly, the argumentative nature of the main newspapers has moved away from a concentration on the domestic political situation in Turkey towards a closer look at the future and identity of the EU project itself. Especially during the last year, Turkish EU membership aspirations and EU internal processes like the establishing of the new Lisbon Treaty were combined in commentaries.2 Using the accession negotiations with Turkey as an example, commentators argue pro and con over an effective EU enlargement policy that has to be linked to the debate on European identity. Even though the main protagonists, the FAZ and the SZ, keep their basic opinions to the EU membership of Turkey, their
Wimmel, A. (2006) Beyond the Bosphorus? Comparing German, French and British Discourses on Turkeys Application to Join the European Union, Reihe Politikwissenschaft/Political Science Series, No. 111,, see also Welt am Sonntag (2008) EU-Beitritt der Trkei: Entspannt euch!, 25 May 2008, p. 31; Peter Graf Kielmansegg (2009) Europa braucht Grenzen, in: FAZ, 27 May 2009, p. 7. 2 Peter Graf Kielmansegg (2009) Europa braucht Grenzen, in: FAZ, 27 May 2009, p. 7.; SZ (2009) Insel gegen Kontinent 30 July 2009, p. 4; Welt am Sonntag (2008) EU-Beitritt der Trkei: Entspannt euch!, 25 May 2008, p. 31.

argumentations are linked to internal affairs of the EU rather than treating both issues separately. The FAZ, for example, commented on Turkeys disagreement with Anders Fogh Rasmussen as NATO general secretary, as an example of a conflict of civilizations which could be enhanced with Turkey as a member of the EU system, where blackmailing often works and identity plays an important role in daily political life.3 Also, the SZ claims that the problematic signing procedure of the Lisbon Treaty shows the need to combine the future of enlargement policy with the debate on European identity. The will of the accession candidates to contribute to the European Integration process should be an accession criterion for future enlargements and for Turkeys accession.4 Taking into consideration all types of media, the debate mainly remained an issue within the print media. In general, reports of other media, like TV stations, concentrate on negative connotations of Islam.5 The picture drawn emphasizes cultural differences and the reports concentrated on rather negative examples of social integration.6 German media perceive Turkeys ambitions to join the EU differentiated. While the conservative press advocates a sceptical approach, the liberal orientated newspapers are rather supportive. Accompanied by the mostly negative reporting on Islam within the broader media, it can be said that in general the
FAZ (2009) Schne Partner, 5 April 2009, p. 14. SZ (2009) Insel gegen Kontinent 30 July 2009, p. 4. 5 Kai Hafez/Carola Richter (2007) Das Islambild von ARD und ZDF, in: ApuZ 26-27/2007, pp. 40-46. 6 Grsel Gr (2005) Das Trkeibild der deutschen Presse, in: Brger im Staat 3/2005, pp. 122-129.
4 3


German media shows little optimism concerning a successful EU accession of Turkey.

By the Government and the Opposition Since there has been a general election in Germany on 27 September 2009 and it is foreseeable that a new government will be formed shortly, the following section will firstly deal with the positions of the government of 2005-2009 and the opinions of the two parties therein. Secondly, the individual positions of the three smaller parties in parliament (Bundestag) in opposition between 2005 and 2009 will be outlined. In a third step, the opinions voiced during the coalition negotiations in the Fall of 2009 will be mentioned. The government of chancellor Angela Merkel comprises the two largest parties in Germany, namely the conservative Christian Democratic Party (CDU) and the Social Democratic Party (SPD). These two governing parties hold diverging positions in the grand coalition concerning Turkish candidacy for EUmembership. While the CDU wants a privileged partnership, the SPD advocates EU-membership. The CDU argues along the lines of EU-internal and identity reasons, whereas the SPD is of the opinion that membership can stabilize Turkish democracy and thus refute the argument that we are heading for a Clash of Civilizations.


The Coalition contract7 of 2005 foresees that if the EU is not able to absorb another member or if Turkey is not able to fulfil all criteria related to membership, then Turkey has to be bound to Europe as closely as possible and in a way that allows for its privileged relations to develop. The contract thus comprises both of the institutional arguments, namely the question of the EUs internal structures as well as that of the Turkish political system. It does not give an opinion, however on what should happen if both prerequisites are met, but only maps out further steps for a situation in which one or the other or both conditions are not fulfilled. Concerning the election campaign for the European Parliament, further enlargements of the EU were not an important subject. There was, however, a mentioning of the subject in the manifestoes. In their manifesto8 for the elections of the European Parliament, the conservatives (CDU) based their advocating a privileged partnership on a more general support of a consolidation phase and a slowing down of all enlargement processes, since they give priority to the stabilizing of the European identity and the EUs institutions. Already in 2000, in its updated programme,9 the CDU stressed the fact that the question of where the borders of Europe lie should be answered before it reaches the borders of Iraq and Iran. It is thus using an argument of fear of the conflicts of the
CDU/CSU/SPD (2005) Gemeinsam fr Deutschland. Mit Mut und Menschlichkeit, 11 November 2005, Berlin. 8 CDU (2009) Starkes Europa Sichere Zukunft, 16 March 2009, Berlin. 9 CDU-Bundesvorstand (2000) Programmatische Offensive fr Deutschland. Norderstedter Erklrung, 7/8 January 2000, Norderstedt.

Arab world rather than seeing future membership as a bridge or a buffer between Europe and countries like Iraq or Iran. In its electoral programme for post-2009,10 the CDU stresses the fact that Turkey does not fulfil the prerequisites for EU-membership, such as equal rights, the protection of minorities or freedom of religion. For that reason they support a privileged partnership instead of EU-membership for Turkey. In addition, the CDUs Bavarian partner CSU supports referenda to decide on new EU-members.11 The same opinion has been voiced by Chancellor Merkel. At a meeting of young conservatives in May 2009, she stressed the fact that there is no sense in repeated enlargements if these make it impossible to handle the EU.12 She thus pointed once more to the inadequate EU-internal structure for further enlargements. Her statements are backed by another large member of the EU, namely France, which also opposes a Turkish EU-membership. The German-Turkish Forum, a small organisation within the CDU with 400 members that aims at bringing People of Turkish descent and the CDU closer together, advocates Turkish EU-membership.13 It especially opposes arguments aiming for differing and incompatible values. They see only a minority of CDU members following this argument, while a majority refers to the countrys size and the EUs limited absorption capacity. The German-Turkish Forum

CDU/CSU (2009) Wir haben die Kraft. Gemeinsam fr unser Land. Regierungsprogramm 2009-2013, 28. June 2009, Berlin. 11 CSU (2009) Wahlaufruf der Christlich-Sozialen Union zur Bundestagswahl 2009. Was unser Land jetzt braucht: Eine starke CSU in Berlin, 17/18 June 2009, Nuremberg. 12 Cf. Turkey shocked by Franco-German Rhetoric, in:, 11 May 2009. 13 Cf. Deutsch-Trkisches Forum der CDU,

argues in particular that if these two cultures were incompatible that an integration of people of Turkish descent into German society would make any efforts for integrating these into German society useless. Its goals are being counter-acted by discussions such as the one following a controversial speech by the Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Cologne in February 2008 to the Turkish community in Germany, dealing with their assimilation. In the wake of this speech, the CSU called for suspending accession negotiations with Turkey.14 What would a so-called privileged partnership actually look like? A policy paper of the CSU affiliated Hanns-Seidel-Stiftung that was authored by the now Minister of Economics, Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg maps out possible alternatives to a full-fledged membership.15 The policy paper is based on the assumption that Turkish membership would overwhelm the European Union and that alternatives have to be found. It especially stresses the point that not all four freedoms can be opened to Turkey. While it sees no problems in a deep economic cooperation, restrictions to free movement of persons and free movement of services, as well as a monetary union and large-scale financial support in the form of direct payments to the agricultural sector or in Structural and Cohesion Policy are foreseen.


FAZ (2008) Sder fordert einfrieren der Beitrittsverhandlungen, 15 February 2008; see also Barbara Lippert (2008) Wait-and-See. Attitudes of German Stakeholders Towards EU-Turkey, in: Nathalie Tocci (ed.) Talking Turkey in Europe: Towards a Differentiated Communication Strategy, Rome, pp. 135160, here p. 145. 15 Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg (2004) Die Beziehungen zwischen der Trkei und der EU eine Privilegierte Partnerschaft, Hanns-Seidel-Stiftung: Aktuelle Analysen 33.

The Social Democrats, on the other hand, support Turkish EU-membership if Turkey fulfils all the necessary criteria. They stress the fact that a Turkey which is committed to European values can build a bridge to other Muslim countries, an asset which lies in the interest of Germany and Europe. In March 2009, the German foreign minister, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, stressed the fact that it is enlargement that is being negotiated with Turkey and nothing else.16 Concerning referenda, he underlined that those do not exist in Germany on a national level. He thinks it is thus not politically correct to hold a referendum on this subject or any other. He said that it is a question of credibility to fulfil existing obligations concerning Turkish and Balkan membership perspectives. He does not deny the fact, however, that internal reforms are necessary to proceed. Between the two largest parties, a different approach on causes and effects in these fields can be observed. While the CDU stresses the causes and assumes that the lack of internal and external reforms is the cause for alternative measures other than enlargement, the SPD stresses the effect, namely membership as being able to result in stability and peace in the region. Of the opposition by the three smaller parties, the Green Party supports serious accession negotiations with Turkey to support the countries democratic and economic transformation. It assumes that Turkish EU-Membership is in the EUs own interest, since it can be a stabilizing anchor in the region.17

16 17

Frank-Walter Steinmeier, interview with Hrriyet, 21 March 2009. Bndnis 90/Die Grnen (2009) Volles Programm mit WUMS! Fr ein besseres Europa, 23-25 January 2009, Dortmund, p. 150.

The liberal Federal Democrats (FDP) see the Lisbon treaty, or an equivalent, as a prerequisite for further enlargement. Cautiously, they stress the point that Turkish accession is not on the agenda in the next five years anyway.18 They see the key for accession in the implementation of reforms and the absorption capacity of the EU. Party leader Guido Westerwelle said in an interview in May 2009 that Turkey has a right to expect Europe not to deny EU-membership categorically. As has been agreed, a possible accession has to be considered unprejudiced. He considers calling off the process as demanded by the CSU would be the end of a prudent foreign policy19. However, he does not think an accession is possible on a short timescale. His main focus is on reforms in Turkey: The country has to show that it is on the right path in terms of rule of law, society, democracy and economy. In its party documents, The Left (Die Linke) does not deal with enlargement in general or Turkey in particular.20 Yet, in February 2008, their deputy party leader Katina Schubert stressed the fact that Turkey belongs in the EU if it fulfils the Copenhagen criteria.21 For the coalition consultations between the CDU, CSU and FDP following the elections on 27 September 2009, the

FDP (2009) Ein Europa der Freiheit in der Welt des 21. Jahrhunderts. Programm der Freien Demokratischen Partei fr die Wahl zum VII. Europischen Parlament 2009, 17 January 2009, Berlin, p. 4. 19 Guido Westerwelle, interview with Der Spiegel, 4 May 2009. 20 Die Linke (2009) Solidaritt, Demokratie, Frieden Gemeinsam fr den Wechsel in Europa! Europawahlprogramm 2009 der Partei DIE LINKE, 28 February 2009, Essen; idem (2009) Konsequent sozial. Fr Demokratie und Frieden. Bundestagswahlprogramm 2009, 20/21 June 2009, Berlin. 21 Katina Schubert (2008) Europisierung ist Perspektive gegen Nationalismus, press release, 13 February 2008.

question of Turkish EU accession is a conflictive, albeit not a central, subject. While the spirit within the FDP leans towards agreeing with Turkish EU-membership, the CDU continues to advocate a privileged partnership.22 It will be interesting to see whether the FDP will change its opinion, converging towards the CDUs and CSUs point of view. The subject led to a conflict between CSUs Horst Seehofer, who wants to include a No concerning Turkish EU-membership in the coalition contract, and FDP party leader Guido Westerwelle who opposes this idea on the basis that the subject will not become relevant during the new governments four-year term in office.23 Since the foreign ministry combined with the position of deputy chancellor traditionally goes to the coalition partner and this is expected to be filled by party leader Guido Westerwelle, this conflict of opinions might continue to be relevant in the future.

Civil society Christian churches and Turkish communities Speaking about the perception of Turkeys accession aspirations by German civil society, two groups, the Christian churches and the Turkish communities in Germany, are of special interest. Both groups are notably sensitive to the topic, their positions controversial and their perspectives different. Two thirds of the German population is affiliated to a Christian church, even though their membership rates have been

Oliver Grimm (2009) Rckkehr der liberalen Pro-Europer, in: Die Presse, 28 September 2009. 23 Spiegel Online: Seehofer und Westerwelle verkrachen sich wegen Trkei, 13 October 2009.

constantly declining during the last years. The Catholic and the Protestant churches are skeptical about EUs enlargement towards Turkey wherein they concentrate on the domestic situation in Turkey. Their main concerns are the freedom of religion, the nondiscrimination against minorities and the respect of human rights within the country. During the last years, the Protestant Church declared the accession negotiations between the EU and Turkey an open process with the accession as one possible outcome.24 Referring to the unacceptable situation of the Christian minority in Turkey, this position changed recently.25 Alternatives to EU membership, restricted to an intensified economic cooperation, are now favored and a full-membership is not supported anymore. Also, the Catholic Church pledges against full membership. Emphasizing the cultural differences between Europe and Turkey, the Catholic Church in Germany prefers the privileged partnership proposed by the CDU.26 Within the Turkish community, the broader perception of Turkeys membership aspirations is difficult to access. In Germany there are several organizations which claim to represent the interest of the 2.6 million German Turks, who are also divided along political party lines. Comments on Turkish EU-membership from these organizations are rare. Nevertheless, Cem zdemir, the

Speech of Bishop Wolfgang Huber Religionsfreiheit und Toleranz - Wie aktuell ist der Augsburger Religionsfriede?, 22 September 2005, . html. 25 Wolfgang Huber, interview with Hamburger Abendblatt Online, 31 May 2009, 26 Central Committee of German Catholics, presse release, 17. April 2005,

German-Turk politician and chairman of the Green Party, sees a generally positive attitude of the German-Turk population towards Turkeys ambitions to join the EU.27 The Turkish Community in Germany (Trkische Gemeinde Deutschlands TGD) for example, which represents more than 200 communities in Germany, pledges for membership and emphasizes the practical facilitation for the Turks living in Germany and Europe; for example their right to vote locally.28 Furthermore, Turkeys membership could converge the Muslim and Christian communities within Europe and thus become a geo-political and cultural bridge between Europe and the Middle East. Summing up, within the German Christian churches, a critical attitude towards Turkish membership is dominant. While concentrating on the domestic situation in Turkey, they estimate the cultural differences between Turkey and Europe as too significant for a successful cooperation within the EU. The Turkish community in Germany emphasizes Turkeys capacity to bridge cultural differences between the Christian and Muslim community within and outside Europe. Looking at these two groups, German civil society seems to be divided over the question of EU membership of Turkey.


Cem zdemir (2005) Demokratie und Islam sind vereinbar, in: Cafe Babel, 25 February 2005, 28 Turkish community in Germany, activity report 2006-2008, r.

Conclusion: A Mixed Picture It can thus be concluded that German public opinion towards Turkish candidacy for EU-membership is comprised of diverging positions and arguments. The virulence of proponents and/or opponents of Turkish EU-membership will depend on the further development of the accession process but also of the internal institutional development of the European Union.


Yvonne Nasshoven* Belgian Perceptions

Abstract Belgium has in the debate on the accession of Turkey to the European Union always taken a positive stance. Still, debate has remained limited as internal problems, mostly due to the difficult situation between Flemish and Wallonians in the country, have forced the state to put its emphasis on domestic politics. This passivity has especially been reflected by the near absence of debate in the media, which has only for short timeframes gained importance. However, throughout 2010 the Kingdom of Belgium is going to become one of the key players of European politics, as the country will hold the Presidency of the EU. Also its Prime Minister, Hermann von Rompuy is at the moment one of the frontrunners for the office of the first President of the European Council. Under these circumstances, European and foreign policies are going to figure more prominently in the political landscape, including Turkeys accession to the EU.

The opinions expressed herein are only those of the author and do not reflect any institutional views.

Introduction Belgium has been a founding member of the European Communities and actively been involved in shaping European politics since the beginning. Especially for the countrys position as a small member country of the EU, European integration has always meant an enhancement of its role in the world. Therefore the country has taken a strong prointegrative view, calling for a deepening of the European Union. However, throughout the last years Belgium internal federalism has suffered from separatist and regionalist movements, mostly in the prosperous Dutch-speaking Flanders, but also in French-speaking Wallonia. Those forces, with regard to Turkish EU enlargement opposed to the general line of Belgium politics, have taken a position against the possibility of a Turkish membership in the European Union. Although the two main separatist parties Vlaams Belang in Flanders, and Front National in Wallonia are not involved in government and still provide only for a small part of the Belgium Assembly, the underlying problems between the two major regions have paralyzed the country during the last two years to a large extent.

By the Media Debate about Turkish membership is largely absent in the Belgium press. Mostly, discussions are caused by incidents happening within the country that have an effect on the perception of Turkey by Belgians. Here, especially, two discussions deserve to be mentioned: The election of a grey wolf at the municipal

elections in Brussels in October 2006, and the debate following a statement of the Turkish ambassador to Belgium, Fuat Tanlay, in 2009. The debate on the election of Murat Denizli, a grey wolf who has been elected in the Brussels district of Schaarbeek, in this sense is exemplary as it shows that the discussion on Turkish membership in Belgium is largely stimulated by events happening on the ground with regard to the Belgian Turkish community. Here, especially, the fear of a possible communitarization of Turkish problems in Belgium has been discussed, linked with a debate on the overall problem of Turkish ultranationalist parties. A second incident has been caused lately by the statement of the Turkish ambassador to Belgium, Fuat Tanlay. In the context of a court case concerning the Revolutionary Peoples Liberation Front (Devrimci Sol) in summer 2009, the ambassador was quoted in Hrriyet saying that terrorism one day was going to haunt Belgium and that then would be understood what the word terrorism means.1 This, by many, has been understood as a threat and has been heavily criticized. In general, debates on Turkish EU membership have rather been reproduced than stimulated by the Belgian media. This is especially true for the regular perception of progress reports published by the European Commission, and the debate on a privileged partnership , launched by Nicolas Sarkozy and Angela Merkel in 2009. Belgian media thus can be characterized as reactive, not proactive on the topic of Turkish accession. This

RTBF, Lambassadeur turc souhaite du terrorisme en Belgique, 20 July 2009.


certainly is also due to the fact that Belgium, as seat of many key European institutions and capital of the European Union, is closely watching to keep its own national identity distinct from the momentum of the European institutions, and to separate those areas of life distinctively. Still, surprisingly public discussion on enlargement is less positive on Turkish enlargement than the governments view. This is also confirmed by the figures of Eurobarometer, where only a close majority of 53% are in favour of a further enlargement.2

By the Government Belgian foreign policy in the past years cannot be discussed without referring to Belgiums own political situation. The overall fragmentation of the party system3, discontinuity in the government and increased tensions between the Flemish and Wallonian population have led to only limited discussion on foreign policy matters in the government and beyond. Looking into the situation more closely, since 2006, the Kingdom of Belgium has seen four governments: Verhofstadt II, composed of a coalition between four parties from 11 July 2003 to 21 December 2007,
Eurobarometer 71, Lopnion publique dans lUnion Europenne, Spring 2009, p. 50. 3 Political parties in Belgium are organised along the lines of the Flemish and Wallonian community, so that no overarching Belgian party exists. The main parties involve the Christian democratic parties (Christian Democratic and Flemish party and Centre Dmocrate Humaniste), the socialist parties (Socialistische Partij Anders and Parti Socialiste), the liberal parties (Flemish Liberal Democrats and Mouvement Rformateur) and the green parties (Groen! and Ecolo). Very important players are the Flemish and Wallonian nationalist parties Vlaams Belang and Front National, Vlaams Belang gaining around 11% in the general elections 2007.

Verhofstadt III, in place as an interim government from 21 December 2007 to 20 March 2008, the government Leterme from 20 March 2008 until 30 December 2008, and, starting from 30 December 2008 the government with Herman van Rompuy as Prime Minister. The government formation which followed the general elections on 10 June 2007 thereby has been the longest period of establishing a new government in Belgian history. In addition, in the past governments five parties have been sharing power in order to form a majority, so that consensus has been found only at the lowest common denominator. As a consequence, domestic politics have dominated the governments agenda. Nevertheless, the Belgium government has during the past years shown a favorable attitude towards the accession of Turkey to the European Union. Especially Guy Verhofstadt, Belgium Prime Minister from 1999 to 2008 has taken a positive stance on the prospect of Turkish EU membership, a position he is now also continuing to pronounce in the European Parliament as leader of the group of the Liberals (ALDE), though voicing his opinion more moderately. The roots of this positive position are twofold: Internal policies, especially Turkish population living in Belgium and domestically informed objectives, especially security, on the one hand; and the external policies of Belgium and its agenda as member state of the European Union, on the other hand. Being a small country, Belgium plays a specific role here; , as one diplomat


put it: Inevitably, as a small country being against Turkish membership will not change much.4 Furthermore, the reasons brought forward for Belgiums position diverge depending on the context in which the discussion takes place, but in general three areas can be identified: (1) Geopolitical reasons and the role of Europe in the world: Here the possible function of Turkey as a bridge between Europe and the Near East, even Central Asia, is emphasized. Turkey is expected to be a factor of stability in a troubled region, also given its membership in NATO since 1951 which was not put into question by the Cold War, and a potential reorientation towards Russia.5 Turkey therefore proved to be a reliable partner in the context of cooperation in international organizations, so that an atmosphere of trust emerged which can be built upon. (2) Security from a European perspective: The integration of Turkey in the institutions and policies of the European Union is seen by the Belgian government as the best way to achieve security both with regard to militarist and fundamentalist forces in Turkey on the one hand, and energy security for the European Union on the other hand. Thus, a mixture of internal security and economic matters is informing this realist position, founded on instrumentalist and rational choice beliefs.

Pourqoi les Belges soutiennent la candidature de la Turquie, in Le Soir, 08 December 2004. 5 Chambre des Reprsentants de Belgique, Proposition de Rsolution relative ladhsion de la Turquie lUnion europenne, texte adopt par la Commission des relations extrieures, DOC 502121/004, 10 dcembre 2002.

(3) Providing a tool for reform in Turkey: The Belgian government also puts forward the need for reform in Turkey, for which it sees enlargement as the main incentive.6 Thereby, especially the values of human rights, democracy and minority rights are put forward. Still, the discourse on minorities features less prominently than in other countries, given the Belgian problmatique of Flemish-Wallonian relations. The offspring of the favorable position of the government consequently results from a mixture of self-interested security reasons, but also from the strong belief that cooperation and the existence of joint values is essential for the well-being of the respective Belgian and Turkish societies. As many people of Turkish origin already live in the member countries of the European Union, membership is seen as a natural next step. This position has been more or less intensively pronounced during the last governments; however, the Belgian government at the same time has always been clear that there are clear conditions for membership which have to be met: First, the Copenhagen criteria, which have also guided the European Unions enlargement to the East, need to be strictly applied. This for Belgium means especially the political criteria of the respect of the rule of law, of human rights and of healthy civil-military relations. Comprised is also the full transposition of the acquis communautaire, whereas the need for reform on the economic system is only discussed at the margins by the Belgian government. Secondly, Turkey needs to

Coalition agreement concluded between negotiators of the Christen Demokraatisch und Vlaams CD&V, Movement Reformateur (MR), Parti Socialiste PS, Vlaamse Liberalen and Democraten Open Vld und centre democratie humaniste, 23/12/2007.

solve its difficulties with Cyprus and Greece. This, as Guy Verhofstadt stated already in 2005, is crucial to the negotiations.7 Belgium will, from 01 July 2010 onwards, take on the Council Presidency of the European Union. Preparation is still in its early stages, but some exchanges of opinion have already taken place. In this context, the preparatory documents point in the same direction: In line with the progress made in the accession criteria, the negotiations with Turkey and FYROM shall proceed. Still, with regard to Cyprus and the situation on human rights it is remarked in the document that the steps forward have been rather little.8 Summing up, although Belgium has not been at the forefront of lobbying for a Turkish membership among the member countries of the European Union, it has continuously supported the Turkish membership, but also demanded clear standards. Belgium has, in addition, acknowledged the need for a partnership approach with regard to Turkey, as stated by the then Belgian Foreign Minister Karel de Gucht on 20 January 2009: [] Turkey has not been well - or even equally - treated by the EU. [] The time has come for the partnership between Turkey and Europe to mature. It needs to become a permanent and unbreakable bond. []Turkey is Europes ally. As an integral part of the European family, sharing the same values, it is Europes bridge to the emerging powers in Asia and - let no one forget - the
Riccardi, Fernando, Les divergences sur ladhsion de la Turquie se radicalisent, dans bulletin Quotidien Europe n 8861, 07.01.2005, p.3. 8 Snat et Chambre des reprsentants de Belgique, Prparation de la prsidence belge de l'Union europenne en 2010 (1), Rapport fait au nom du comit davis federal charg des questions europennes par Mme Delvaux et M. De Croo, Document lgislatif n 4-986/1, 9 December 2008.

Middle East. Even more than that, Turkey is a bridge to the Muslim world and it is the prime example that modernisation, secularisation and democracy are not anathema to Islam. Turkey is, in short, an essential ally in the most important struggles that the world will face for years to come. So let Europe rise above its fears and be as great and as generous as this great game demands.9

By the Opposition Belgian opposition parties for the most part share the governments approach of a clear enlargement perspective for Turkey, given that the criteria for membership are met by the country. One example can here be given by the electoral programme of the Green Flemish party Groen!, which in its manifesto for the 2007 general elections wrote that as soon as criteria for human and minority rights are fulfilled by Turkey, accession negotiations may be advanced. The EU in this context would offer to be an active supporter of Turkish reform.10 However, opinion in Belgian politics on Turkish accession is not homogeneous: Especially the Flemish and Wallonian nationalist parties have taken a strong position against the inclusion of Turkey in the European Union. Looking into a policy proposal by the deputies Francis van den Eynde and Alexandra Colen, the main reasons for this position are the belief
de Gucht, Karel, An unbreakable bond, in: Europes world, 20 January 2009; available at 9/PostID/152/Default.aspx (5 November 2009). 10 Groen!, De toekomst begint nu, Programma Groen! voor de federale verkiezingen van 10 juni 2007, p. 113.

that Turkey has no cultural roots in Europe, the situation with regard to Armenia, the Kurds and Cyprus, the geographical position of Turkey with 97% of its territory on the Asian continent, and general animosity between Turkey and the European continent during 700 years. Vlaams Belang also refers to civil-military relations and takes up the position that the European Union would be acting as an agent of the geopolitical interests of the United States of America by having Turkey accede to the EU.11 It would underestimate the potential Vlaams Belang has in the Flemish parts of the countries to put aside this position as marginalized. In contrast, 11% of the people have in the previous election voted for the Flemish nationalists, who have over the past years continuously had good election results. Although Belgian politics have so far had a consensus to not associate the nationalist party in the federal government, Vlaams Belang continues to be voted for by a significant number of people.

By the Civil Society With regard to civil society it is, in the context of Belgium, even more important to clearly distinguish between the discussion of civil society taken place in Belgium as seat of the European institutions, and the Belgian discussion on Turkish adhesion.


Belgian House of Representatives, Proposition de Rsolution relative la candidature de la Turquie ladhsion lUnion Europenne, dpose par M. Francis Van den Eynde et Mme Alexandra Colen, DOC 520286/001, 07 November 2007.

Looking at the actors closely associated to European Union action in Belgium, the European Movement Belgium or the Young European Federalists Belgium are active members of the discussion. Also single-issue NGOs like the Kurdish and Armenian associations active in Belgium give input into the debate. Still, overall the civil society landscape in Belgium is rather silent on the issue of the enlargement process of the European Union; an observation which is true also for trade unions. The reason for this abstention is rather easy to explain: The debate on issues related to the European Union in Belgium is already covered by civil society organizations and think tanks active in Brussels as seat of the European institutions. Belgian citizens interested in the debates will therefore join those debates or activities and not establish parallel structures to the workings of transnational civil society organizations that have their headquarters in the city of Brussels. Reasoning that the silence of Belgian civil society organizations has to be understood as disinterest would therefore neglect that in Belgium multiple layers exist in public life, one being exclusively devoted to covering European affairs. Here, of course, Belgian and European, yet international opinions cannot be easily separated the picture of civil society opinion in Belgium on Turkish adhesion is thus oscillating, depending on which actors are being looked at.


Conclusion When Belgium is going to take the EU Presidency as of 01 July 2010, the situation in the European Union will have drastically changed. With the Treaty of Lisbon a new legal framework is going to be in place, which is aimed at making the European Union more efficient and more democratic. Its implementation and the fight of the social and economic consequences of the financial crisis will be two of the major challenges for the European Union in 2010. The difficulty and magnitude of those two issues is likely to not put any decisions on the enlargement of the EU too high on the agenda. However, the change of the Treaty base which has been awaited since the Eastern enlargement in 2004, and the hope of overcoming the effects of the economic crisis may also act as catalyzer for stimulating the debate on Turkish involvement in the EU. With Belgium being the seat of many of the European institutions, any debate taking place in the Commission, the Parliament or the Council is because of the proximity of actors likely to have repercussions on the main foci of the Presidency. Should thus the accession of Turkey become a major item on the agenda, Belgium is going to lobby in favor of it rather than slowing down the process. Still, as is always the case with Presidencies, many external factors will determine the shape of the main fields of activities. It is thus always wise to plan for the unexpected.


Emiliano Alessandri with Sebastiano Sali Italian Perceptions

Abstract Italy is one of Turkeys strongest supporters when it comes to integration into the EU. Governments of both the Center Left and the Center Right have consistently advocated EU enlargement to Turkey on the grounds that it makes sense commercially and would enhance Europes standing in the world while making the EU a more diverse entity. Bipartisanship at the political level does not reflect in the position of the general public, though. Although less opposed than other European publics, Italians remain skeptical about Turkeys European prospects. A stakeholder which is currently divided on the issue but might one day turn against it is Christian public opinion. Identity politics in Italy has a clear religious flavor and Islamophobia should not be underestimated. A great obstacle to a healthy debate on the future of European-Turkish relations is sheer lack of knowledge. Information provided by Italian media is often incomplete or distorted by simplifications and stereotypes.

Emiliano Alessandri is Research Fellow at the Institute for International Affairs (IAI), Rome. Sebastiano Sali is a MSc candidate at Aberystwyth, International Politics Department. The opinions expressed herein are only those of the author and do not reflect any institutional views.

Introduction Turkeys European Union integration process has traditionally enjoyed wide bipartisan support among Italian political parties as well as among the most important industrial and business groups. On the occasion of the last Italian-Turkish Forum held in Rome in November 2008, Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini reaffirmed Italys convinced support to Turkeys accession1. During his most recent visit to Turkey, Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi promised that the Italian government will work with the EUs Czech and Swedish presidencies so that accession chapters can pass from two to four each presidency, in order to halve the accession process2. Widespread support, however, does not mean that sources of resistance are lacking. As in other European countries, public opinion tends to oppose Turkeys EU membership.3 Moreover, some stakeholders, including some of Italys main political parties, resist the prospect of Turkey being fully integrated into the EU. A stakeholder which is currently deeply split on the issue but might one day turn against it is Italian Catholics, who sometimes have
Frattini appoggia la Turchia. lItalia al vostro fianco per ladesione alla UE, La Repubblica, 6 November, 2008, p. 26. For years, the Italian-Turkish Forum (Forum di dialogo Italo-Turco) has brought together members of the political, economic, and intellectual elites of both countries to discuss issues of common interest and concern. 2 F. Rizzi, Berlusconi: Russia provocata. E la Turchia subito in Europa, Il Messaggero, 13 November, 2008, p. 1. 3 Public support for Turkeys EU membership decreased from 74% in 2004, to 49% in 2006 and 42% in 2007. See, E. Alessandri and E. Canan, Mamma Li Turchi!: Just an Old Italian Saying, in N. Tocci ed. Talking Turkey in Europe: Towards a Differentiated Communication Strategy, Quaderni IAI, December 2008, htm

expressed concerns about admitting into the EU a predominantly Muslim country.

Political Stakeholders The Italian government has been among the earliest and strongest advocates of Turkeys EU membership. This support has been seen by both centre-left and centre-right governments as perfectly consistent with Italys more general foreign policy interests. Since World War II, Italy has looked at Atlantic and European integrations as highly positive and mutually reinforcing trends. Allowing Turkey to join the EU has been viewed as almost a natural development in consideration of Ankaras critical contribution to Western security. In 2007, former foreign minister Massimo DAlema well summarized the main reasons for supporting Turkeys EU membership from the perspective of the Italian centre-left: 1 the common Mediterranean identity of Italy and Turkey and the desirability of shifting the EU centre of gravity from central and eastern to southern Europe; 2 Turkey as a hub between the Balkans, the Caucasus, and Central Asia, especially when it comes to energy transportation; 3 Turkey as a successful experiment in combining Islam with secular and democratic institutions, and 4 Turkeys accession as representing the crucial test for the EU to decide upon whether to define itself according to an exclusive identity or as an open political project4.

M. DAlema, LItalia alleato critico della Turchia in Europa, Il Sole 24 Ore, 13 June 2007, p.1.

The centre-right parties, currently in government, put the emphasis on other factors: 1 Turkeys membership as a guarantee of Europes continued strategic partnership with the US through NATO; 2 Turkey as an attractive market for trade and investment and a key economic partner for Italy (this business perspective is particularly emphasized by prime minister Silvio Berlusconi himself)5; 3 echoing other European conservative parties (i.e., in the UK), Turkeys entry as a way to dilute the European political and social project and strengthen the prospect of a Europe of nations. Moreover, similarly to the centre-left (but perhaps with less emphasis), the centre-right seems to attribute relevance to the argument that Turkey could provide a bridge towards the Middle East and the Muslim world. Among the political stakeholders that are sceptical about full integration are Italys Communist parties, which underline the difficult situation of Turkeys ethnic minorities and the poor record in the field of human rights. The Party of the Re-founded Communists (PRC) has traditionally supported the political aspirations and claims of Turkeys Kurds. Last year, the PRC website hosted a letter by Fayik YAGIZAY, representative of the Demokratik Toplum Partisi (DTP), denouncing a police operation against the DTP in 13 provinces of Turkey as a political action aimed at threatening not only the Kurdish pacific and democratic struggle, but also democracy, human rights and freedom of association6. The PRC platform for the 2009 European Parliament
See E. Alessandri, Interview with Paolo Quercia, Director of the project: Fare Italia nel Mondo, Fondazione FareFuturo, 8 May 2008. 6 Elezioni In Turchia. Una pericolosa operazione contro il DTP, 14 April 2009, (last accessed 11-09-2009)

elections urged a political solution to the Kurdish question, asking Turkey to stop the military repression and start a real process of negotiations7. The Party of the Italian Communists (PDCI) argues that EU negotiations with Turkey are informed by the vision of a Europe of markets and capital as opposed to the ideal of a social and political EU protecting the rights of its citizens and workers. Moreover, the PDCI has warned against the possibility that, once admitted, Turkey could act as a US Trojan Horse, preventing the EU from developing a truly independent foreign policy. All these reasons brought PDCI Foreign Relations spokesperson, Iacopo Venier to conclude We are against Turkey into the EU8. Yet, while critical, these parties are ready to admit that, if accession negotiations were accompanied by a more serious political discussion, they would consider changing their positions. Indeed, the Communist parties underline that it would be extremely important for Europe to accept its identity as a multiethnic and multi-religious polity, a notion they fully subscribe to. For now, the PRC and PDCI seem to support the notion of a privileged partnership as an alternative to full membership, and have followed with interest French President Nikolas Sarkozys initiative envisioning a Union for the Mediterranean including Turkey.

Programma Unitario per le Elezioni Europee,, 9 April 2009, (last accessed 1109-2009) 8 I. Venier, Turchia: Testa in Europa,, 8 June 2007 e&sid=391&pagenum=4&mode=thread&order=0&thold=0 (last accessed 1109-2009)

Resolutely against membership are the Northern League (NL) and La Destra. Both oppose Turkeys EU membership mainly on considerations of religion, identity, and culture. An article recently published in the newspaper La Padania well summarizes the NLs position on Turkey: Without downplaying several specific reasons [to oppose Turkeys EU membership] (poor human rights record, denial of Armenian genocide, minorities rights violations, insufficient religion freedom, military presence in Iraq, military occupation of Northern Cyprus), it has to be made clear that geographically, but also culturally and socially, Turkey is not a European country and therefore it must not be admitted into a Union of European countries9. It is worth emphasizing that the NL is a key component of the current government and has repeatedly threatened to resort to referendum if Turkey was ever to successfully complete the accession process. In the last European Parliament elections, the NL has doubled its support (from 5% in 2004 to 10,2% in 2009), with peaks of over 20% in the wealthiest regions of Italys North. The words of La Destra leader, Francesco Storace, well summarize the position of Italys far right on Turkey. Turkeys EU membership, he recently argued, would likely divert EU funds away from the South of Italy towards the South of Europe of which Turkey is another piece. Denying EU membership to

No allingresso della Turchia in Europa, Giornale Elettorale Europee 2009, May 2009, p. 2, 9.pdf.

Turkey is key to safeguarding the Christian roots of Europe: we refuse the multi-culture10. The picture is further complicated by the fact that recent years seem to have registered a cooling off of sections of the Italian political establishment which were previously in favour of Turkeys EU integration. Among the factors that could explain such a trend, one may cite spreading Euroscepticism (which only exacerbated after the outbreak of the last economic crisis) and the growing tendency among Italian conservatives to interpret Italys task in todays globalising world as a defence of threatened identities, starting with the religious and cultural ones11. Political leaders of the centre-right have made recurrent references to the centrality of Christian values in domestic and foreign policy. This strong reaffirmation of Italys Christian identity has, to date, led no parties to significantly alter their official position on Turkey12. Within the People of Freedom (Italys newly constituted Center-Right party), however, sceptics seem to be on the rise.13 Within the Unione dei Democratici Cristiani e di Centro (Union of Christian and Centrist Democrats), several are firmly opposed to

Ue: Turchia; Storace, rifiutiamo multiculturalit,, 5 May 2009, (last accssed 11-09-2009) 11 See M. Pera and J. Ratzinger, Senza Radici. Europa, relativismo, cristianesimo, Islam, Milano, Mondatori, 2004. See also M. Veneziani, Contro i barbari. La civilit e i suoi nemici, interni ed esterni, Milano, Frecce, editore Mondadori, 2006. 12 E. Alessandri, Interview with Rocco Buttiglione,12 June 2008, Italian philosopher and President of the Union of Christian Democrats. 13 E. Alessandri, Interview with Luca Volont, former Head of the Union of Christian Democrats group in the Chamber of Deputies, 3 April 2008; E. Alessandri, Interview with Sandro Magister, Vaticanist from LEspresso Group 6 May 2008; E. Alessandri, Interview with Andrea Tornielli, Vaticanist from Il Giornale, 14 May 2008.

Turkeys membership, often on considerations of religion and identity. Playing against the rise of a massive no-Turkey-in-theEU movement are several factors. First, Pope Benedict XVIs reversal on his previously expressed reservations14. Second, the existence of strong economic interests in favour of closer TurkeyEU relations, promoted especially by the centre-right leaders. Third, the propensity among some Italian conservatives to consider Turkeys ruling party, AKP, as a possible Turkish equivalent of their own parties. Rocco Buttiglione, the President of the Union of Christian and Centrist Democrats and one of the leading Turkeysceptics among Italian Catholics, claims the paternity of the constructive dialogue which has been established between the European Peoples Party and the AKP15.

Economic Stakeholders Italy was Turkeys third largest trade partner in 200816. Direct Italian investments were estimated at 4,4 billion US dollars (USD) in 2006. In 2008, they had almost tripled. In 2009, they are expected to grow even further. At the moment, over 700 Italian firms and companies are investing or directly operating in Turkey. Italys imports from Turkey are mainly leather, wood, clothing and shoes, in addition to a growing amount of machines and electronic

See, Cardinal Ratzinger : Identifier la Turquie lEurope serait une erreur, Le Figaro, 13 April 2004, p.3 15 E. Alessandri, Interview with Rocco Buttiglione, cit. 16 Istituto Nazionale per il Commercio Estero (ICE), country focus: Turkey, 4 December 2008, dPaese=52

applications. For its part, Italy exports plastic and metal products, agricultural products, hi-tech items, and typical Italian products (made in Italy). The trade balance has been in favour of Italy. Among economic sectors where interchange is significant, energy is becoming the main one, especially as regards natural gas transportation. Bio and nano technologies are fields where interchange is rapidly growing. Turkey represented an important market for Italy even before Ankara decided to embark on the EU accession process. Italys most powerful business families and groups have exerted pressure on the Italian government for greater openness towards the Turkish economy since at least the 1960s, being among the first to ask the European Communities to sign a customs union agreement with Turkey. Luca Cordero di Montezemolo, Italys former president of Confindustria, the leading organization representing Italian industry, recently pointed out that, from the businessmans standpoint, Turkey is already in Europe17. Among key economic stakeholders, one may currently include some of Italys leading energy companies such as ENI and ENEL; some of Italys most prominent banking companies, such as Unicredit; as well as telecommunication companies such as Telecom, and aerospace and defence firms, such as Finmeccanica. FIAT, Italys leading automobile company, entered the Turkish market as early as the 1920s. In 1968, FIAT started a joint venture with the Ko Group giving birth to the plants of Tofas in Bursa,

Italia Turchia: Montezemolo, per imprese Ankara gi in UE, Kataweb News, 8 November, 2007,

where FIATs world car, Palio, is now produced. At FIAT, people like to think that Turkey is a chunk of Italy that has somehow slipped towards the Middle East, says Enrico Franceschini, a journalist of La Repubblica AUTO18. Such strong and ramified economic interests between the two countries, including in some of Italys strategic sectors, explains the existence of what might be called an Italian economic lobby which strongly favours Turkeys swift integration into the EU. To confirm this connection, it is worth mentioning that on May 22nd, 2008, Italy signed the Mediterranean Plan in Istanbul with the objective to create investment opportunities also in Egypt, Libya, Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia. Under-secretary for Economic Development Adolfo Urso underscored during the ceremony how important it is, even in this phase of economic recession, that the Turkish market can remain open to Italian firms19. Some of Italys economic stakeholders, however, are more sceptical about Turkeys full integration into the EU. This is particularly true for some firms in the agricultural sector. The Customs union agreement with Turkey entered into force in 1996 does not apply to agricultural products. Given the existence of several similarities between the Italian and the Turkish agricultural markets, there is some fear on the Italian side that Turkeys EU

E. Franceschini, La scommessa della Turchia, La Repubblica, July 1999,; A. Ferigo, Interview with FIAT Representative, May 2008. 19 C. Antonelli, Interview to Vice-Minister Urso, LiberoMercato, 24 May, 2009, p. 27.

membership would negatively affect Italys competitiveness. The same applies to the redistribution of the EU budget for the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) that Turkeys entry would entail20. The overview of Italian economic stakeholders would not be complete without including trade unions. Their opinion seems in favour of Turkeys accession, but only if this means more norms regulating the Turkish market and more rights for Turkish labour. Im in favour of Turkey joining the EU, Giorgio Cipriani, trade unionist at FIAT, declares, because in my long experience as a unionist I realized that the interests of Turkish society overlap with those in Italy, although sometimes they differ in scope and scale21. Membership, he points out, can be granted only if social besides economic standards are met [] unions will keep heading in the direction that we already chose: exchanges of delegations, education and training, joint campaigns and other expressions of solidarity.

Media Media play a critical role in shaping public opinion, including on EU Enlargement issues. However, Italian public opinion still seems to be poorly and often badly informed, still lacking basic knowledge not only on Turkeys EU integration

E. Alessandri, Interview with Maurizio Reale, Head of Coldiretti External Relations Dept, 17 April 2008. 21 A. Ferigo, Interview with Giorgio Cipriani, trade unionist, FIAT, 12 May 2008.


process, but also on modern Turkey itself22. Among the consequences of the lack of an informed debate on these issues, is the presence of misperceptions, stereotypes and also prejudices. The Speaker of Italys House of Deputies (Italys lower chamber), Gianfranco Fini, paid a visit to his homologue in Ankara at the end of October 2008, openly recognizing the problem and asking to drop all prejudices which are plaguing the debate on Turkey. Fini said that Turkey is engaged in an effort, and the EU must engage to look honestly and without prejudices to these concrete efforts made by Ankara23. Especially in the recent past, news coming from Turkey generally concerned the countrys uncertain future as a secular democracy (e.g., Don Andrea Santoros murder in Turkey in 2006, the headscarf issue in 2007 and the closure case against the AKP in 2008). What is interesting is not the coverage itself, but the way news have been dealt with. First, even newspapers leaning towards political parties supporting Turkeys EU membership have recently hosted articles expressing concern about some of Turkeys domestic developments, sometimes interpreting them as instances of an ongoing religious radicalisation. This is the case of conservative newspapers, such as Il Giornale and Libero24. Second, so far growing concerns about Turkeys domestic developments

E. Alessandri, Interview with Giampaolo Carbonetto, from Messaggero Veneto and President of Associazione Europa Cultura, 21 April 2008; E. Alessandri, Interview with Yasmin Taskin, Rome correspondent from Sabah, 7 May 2008. 23 A. Pannullo, Fini: LUnione Europea dica no ai pregiudizi, Il Secolo dItalia, 1 November, 2008, p. 6. 24 See articles by F. Facci, from Il Giornale and R. Camilleri, Quellomicidio allontana la Turchia dallEuropa, Il Giornale 27 January 2007, p.10. See also C. Taormina, Sulla Turchia nella UE lItalia dia ascolto alla lezione di Sarkozy, Libero, 31 August 2007, p.11.

have not been systematically extended to the question of Turkeys membership and its future in Europe. If this were to happen, then the Turkey question could become an item of broader domestic debate, where religion-related issues, as earlier noted, attract growing attention and where contested questions such as immigration are often approached from a religious perspective, too. A survey by the Ministry of Interior shows that the majority of Italians considers Muslim immigration as creating more problems to Italy than immigration of other groups25. Whether the Turkey question will become part of this debate is still unclear, and much will depend on the reaction of Christian public opinion, a convenient phrase which can be used to identify those sections of the Italian public that are particularly sensitive to religious considerations. Christian public opinion is fairly influential in Italy, being widely represented in the Italian media (newspapers, TV), and includes among its members leaders and intellectuals who subscribe to a Christian interpretation of Europes political future. A trigger factor that would consolidate, perhaps irreversibly, the views of this sector would be the opposition of the Holy See to Turkeys membership. As noted earlier, however, the position of the Pope seems to have grown more positive lately26. As Franca Giansoldati from Il Messaggero points out, what the Pope is seeking is juridical recognition of the
See Ministero dellInterno, Report, 29 Apri 2008, porto_immigrazione_BARBAGLI.pdf 26 See Cardinal Ratzinger: Identifier la Turquie l'Europe serait une erreur, cit. See also E. Alessandri, Interview with Andrea Tornielli, Vaticanist from Il Giornale 14 May 2008.

Christian church in Turkey [..] something that is missing today and is therefore the object of bargaining between the Vatican and Turkish authorities in the context also of Turkeys negotiations with the EU27.

Civil Society To complete the picture of Italian stakeholders, one may include Italian NGOs and national branches of international NGOs working on Turkey or in Turkey. The galaxy of Italian NGOs seems to be overall supportive of the final goal of Turkeys EU membership. Many NGOs, however, prefer not to express an official position on the current state of the accession process nor on the end result. Several, moreover, emphasize that in the present situation Turkey is still far from reaching EU standards. Concern is expressed about human rights protection in general as well as on the specific condition of children, women, and ethnic minorities. Richard Noury, spokesperson of the Italian branch of Amnesty International, underscored that on the basis of our 2009 report, we witnessed an increasing number of reporting of tortures and illtreatment to the police, repatriation of refugees and violence towards women28.

E. Alessandri, Interview with Franca Giansoldati, Vaticanist from Il Messaggero, 22 May 2008. 28 S. Sali, Interview with Richard Noury, Amnesty International Italy, 11 June 2009


Italian NGOs engaged in the south-east part of Turkey, such as Un Ponte Per.., often lament an escalation of violence against Kurds29. Environmental issues, too, are often mentioned as a reason for concern. Laura Cerani, of Green Peace-Italy, expresses the hope that the accession process will elevate Turkey to EU environmental standards30. As to their engagement in Turkey, Italian NGOs often complain about the difficulties encountered in fully and freely carrying out their missions. Particularly difficult seems the relationship between NGOs and the local police and sometimes the Army, too (especially for the NGOs working in the south-east of the country). A further problem has to do with the collection of information and data, which does not always seem possible. During the preparation of a documentary on Kurdish migration in the 1990s, Matteo Pasini from Un Ponte Per.. reports that he was detained and interrogated by the police for several hours in Diyarbakir31. As to the domestic debate on Turkey, finally, NGOs admit that the Italian civil society is not particularly informed about Turkeys EU integration process. There seems to be insufficient coordination among NGOs working on Turkey, and limited interchange between these and the wider galaxy of Italian NGOs and the Italian civil society more broadly.

29 30

S. Sali, Interview with Matteo Pasini, Un Ponte per..,12 June 2009 S. Sali, Interview with Laura Cerani, Green Peace Italia, 16 June 2009. 31 S. Sali, Interview with Matteo Pasini, cit.

When asked whether they think that the Italian debate on Turkey is well-enough informed and lively, most NGOs express their dissatisfaction. The afore-mentioned Matteo Pasini points out that the debate does not include the correct elements of information for a real understanding of the situation, thus making it impossible for the public to formulate a correct and objective judgment32. Amnesty Italy laments that too often have misperceptions and prejudices entered the debate and found resonance in the media.

Conclusions Italy has been traditionally one of Turkeys main supporters when it comes to EU membership. This support is unlikely to be withdrawn. However, scepticism seems to be on the rise even among those political stakeholders which are ready to recognize the economic and geopolitical benefits deriving from Turkeys accession. Public opinion is increasingly against Turkeys EU membership. Issues of religion and identity seem to be at the core of the problem. The business community strongly supports membership, although some sectors do not hide their concerns about a possible loss of competitiveness. Lack of basic information about contemporary Turkey and the persistence of old prejudices and misperceptions prevent a truly open and constructive debate on Turkey from fully developing in Italy.


S. Sali, Interview with Matteo Pasini, cit.


Eduard Soler i Lecha, Irene Garca* Spanish Perceptions

Introduction Hispano-Turkish relations enjoy excellent health. Internationally, we see how both countries have collaborated in areas such as promotion of the Alliance of Civilizations since 2004. On the European agenda, Spain fully supports Turkeys entry into the EU and, above all, rejects any discriminatory treatment to this country. At a strictly bilateral level, the relations have been upgraded to the highest level since the organization of the first High Level Meeting, in April 2009. At a time when other states such as Germany and France slide into reluctance towards Turkish accession, Spain is one of the most supportive states. Its support for Turkish entry is clear and consistent. When Spanish politicians and diplomats are asked about the reasons behind this position, certain arguments are often used, such as: Turkeys geo-strategic value, trade links with a robust economy, the positive impact in Turkeys democratization process as well as its possible contribution to the strengthening of the Mediterranean axis within the EU, thus helping to move the EUs centre of gravity southwards1.

The opinions expressed herein are only those of the author and do not reflect any institutional views. 1 Lpez Garrido, D., 2009. Espaa y Turqua: dos pases y un destino in Afkar/ideas, 22, pp. 30-31.

This support is also consistent with the European policy of Spain. Since its accession to the EEC, or even as a candidate country, Spain positioned itself as a country committed to European integration in its dual dimension: deepening and widening. This logic has determined the Spanish governments support to the accession of new member states, even if those enlargements brought no immediate benefits for Spain. This support strives from Spains own experience, as its accession to the EEC is perceived as a key element in the process of modernization and development that Spain has undergone over the last twenty years. Moreover, the lack of political and social debate on this issue has given the Spanish executive more leeway to design and implement its policies towards Turkey. In our analysis of Spains approach towards Turkeys EU accession, we will take into consideration different actors views: the government, the opposition, the media and civil society over the last five years. Two reasons justify this study. Firstly, we observe that even if support to the accession has remained constant to date, reluctance is growing among conservative politicians and social sectors. Secondly, Spain will assume the rotating Presidency of the EU in January 2010 and, from this stance, it can influence the evolution of the Euro-Turkish relations in the near future.

The Government and the Spanish Socialist Workers' Party The elections on March 14th, 2004 turned the Spanish political map upside down. The Conservative government led by Jos Mara Aznar since 1996 was replaced by a new

administration, headed by the Socialist Jos Luis Rodrguez Zapatero. This happened within a context of growing polarization and tension between the two main Spanish political forces. This tension was not only felt in the field of domestic policy, but international affairs were also subject to debate on issues like the war on Iraq and the relations with Morocco, Cuba and Venezuela. The European agenda also became a fertile ground for provocation between the two main parties, in subjects such as the best strategy to defend Spanish interests in the EU. Yet, the governmental support to Turkeys EU accession was immune to this controversial mood and neither the Spanish Socialist Workers Party (PSOE), nor the main opposition party, the Popular Party (PP), instrumentalised this question in their political disputes. The Socialist Party, President Rodrguez Zapatero and the foreign affairs minister Miguel Angel Moratinos, maintained their support for Turkey, as the Popular Party had done so far. What it did change were the fundaments and, to a lesser extent, the justification for such support. While the position of the PP was marked by the strong Atlantic accent of its foreign policy, the Socialist executive emphasized other elements, such as Turkey's contribution to the development of more harmonious relations between the Union and the Islamic world, or the democratic progress made in this country. Despite these nuances, the Spanish government has tried to stress the great convergence in this field between the main political forces. According to Moratinos, the reasons for which Spain has always voiced support for enlargement, are political reasons, because we are convinced that enlargement will reinforce

stability and security within the European continent; economic reasons, because we have a new market of 80 million citizens with economic growth at a high rate; and ethical or moral reasons, because we can see ourselves reflected in the mirror of the enlargement when we recall how our entry into the EU, after decades of dictatorship, enabled us to consolidate democracy and a market economy2. The Socialist executive has found broad support inside its own party. For instance, in 2007, Juan Moscoso del Prado, PSOE deputy and member of the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the Parliament, underlined the strategic value of Ankara, starting with the principle of freedom of religion, the need to support the democratic reforms, and Turkeys contribution in issues such as the Union for the Mediterranean3. In May 2008, during the Europe Day celebration, the PSOE expressed again its support for Turkey's entry when they meet the requirements. They continued to argue that as important as the stability provided by EU enlargements is the one that allows the good neighbourly relations with the countries around us 4. By the end of the same year, the Socialist Party stressed again its support for the negotiations with Turkey, based on clear criteria, and both Turkey and the EU should fulfil their respective commitments within this framework, that is, the EUs credibility
Moratinos, M.A., Diario de Sesiones del Congreso de los Diputados: Comisin de Asuntos Exteriores, Vol. 8 (24) Madrid: Cortes Generales. 3 Moscoso, J. 2007. Por el amor laico entre la UE y Turqua in El Pas, 30 August 4 PSOE, 2008. Compromiso con la igualdad, la calidad del empleo y el cambio de modelo de crecimiento:Manifiesto del PSOE con motivo del 1 de Mayo, Spain: PSOE.

is at stake as well as the pacta sunt servanda principle (PSOE, 2008) 5. A similar commitment with the EUs current enlargement to Turkey and Croatia can be found in this party manifesto for the European Parliament elections of 20096.

Opposition Parties Since 2004, the Popular Party is the main opposition force. During its government, from 1996 to 2004, it opted for the deepening of bilateral relations with Turkey. It also opted for anchoring this country in the European integration project, provided it meets the criteria set for any candidate. Representatives of the Popular Party insisted from the beginning that Turkey should be treated as equally as other EU candidate7. This was also the Popular Partys commitment in the 2004 elections8.

PSOE, 2008. Motivos para crecer. Programa Electoral 2008. (Programa electoral 2008) Spain: PSOE. 6 PSOE, 2009. Manifiesto: Programa Electoral PSOE 2009. (EU 09 of 2009-17) Spain: PSOE. 7 See, for instance the following statement by Fernando Villalonga, State Secretary in 1997: Spain recognizes Turkey's European vocation, estimates that the integration of Turkey into the European Union is both an aspiration consistent with the project of European integration and a Turkish legitimate aspiration. (...) The Spanish support is based on our conception of the European project, which makes us to bear in mind that enlargement is an open process, transparent and non discriminatory. Furthermore, suitability to open accession negotiations and the negotiation process will relate to the objective political economic conditions of each of the candidates. As you know, the EU is a pluralistic project that fit in all European countries willing to contribute to European integration and to a more united Europe, safer and more prosperous to be found in Diario de sesiones de las Cortes Generales, Comisin de Asuntos Exteriores, year 1997, n. 352, p.10400. 8 PP, 2004. Avanzamos Juntos: Programa de Gobierno del Partido Popular. (Programa 2004) Spain: PP.

Without completely breaking with its traditional position, we observe that the Popular Party has gradually nuanced this stance in favour of Turkish membership since it lost the elections. For instance, in an election rally in 2005, the new party leader, Mariano Rajoy, questioned the fact that Spain supports Turkeys accession without debate, mentioning the need to open a debate on EUs future external borders9. The influential member of the Popular Party, Gustavo de Arstegui, also stated that although his party is in favour of Turkeys accession, the deadlines should be reconsidered, taking into account the EUs absorption capacity10. Therefore, the messages sent by some PP members start to converge with those of other conservative leaders in Europe, and more specifically with France and Germanys governmental positions. In addition, the alliance between the Socialist government in Spain and the AKP government in Turkey regarding some specific issues has not garnered much support among the Spanish conservatives. The project of the Alliance of Civilizations has been heavily criticized. From the very beginning, Mariano Rajoy was sceptical, saying that it is nothing but a siren song, that nobody cares about it and that it is not the appropriate way to combat radical Islamist terrorism11. Another controversy arose with the
Segovia, C., 2005. Rajoy cambia la posicin proturca del PP en la UE para apoyar a Merkel y Sarkozy in El Mundo, 26 June. 10 Arstegui, G., 2005. Bin Laden y los suyos quieren convertir Al ndalus en un smbolo del islamismo radical. Heraldo de Aragn, 18 October. Available at: [Accessed 11 October 2009]. 11 EFE, 2006. Lpez Garrido critica el desprecio de Rajoy hacia la Alianza de Civilizaciones in WebIslam online, [internet] 15 November. Available at: [Accessed 12 October 2009].

Cartoon crisis and Zapatero and Erdogan reaction calling for respect and calm, arguing that the publication of these caricatures may be perfectly legal, but it is not indifferent and thus ought to be rejected from a moral and political standpoint12. Rajoy affirmed that the priority was to defend freedom of expression and showed his solidarity with those who exercise it13. It is also significant that in the 2008 general election campaign, the PP did not allude to Turkey in its program. It is all the more relevant as on the agenda for European Parliament elections of 2009, it is said that they support the current phase of the enlargement process adding that it should also consider other possible formulas or frameworks for association with the European Union, so that the project of European integration is not compromised14. To put it in a nutshell, despite maintaining its traditional support, we can observe growing signs that the position of the PP may be becoming more sceptical. This can be seen in Jose Maras Aznar present position. Even though he has always maintained governmental positions favourable to Turkeys membership, now his statements match the conservative stream that questions Turkeys membership. In a recent publication: Europa: Propuestas para la Libertad, he opposes Turkeys entry


Erdogan, R.T., Zapatero, J.L., 2006. A call for respect and calm in New York Times, 5 February. 13 Europapress, 2006. Polmica por la publicacin de caricaturas: Rajoy pide a Zapatero que tenga en cuenta los alteracados al hablar de la Alianza de Civilizaciones in El Mundo online, [internet] 6 February. Available at: [Accessed 9 October 2009]. 14 PP, 2009. Programa Electoral Extenso: Elecciones al Parlamento Europeo 7 junio 2009. Spain: PP.

into the EU, arguing that the Christian values of Europe are more important than the Transatlantic Alliance15. The rest of the political forces are less able to shape Spanish policy vis--vis the EUs enlargement. However, it is important to take them into account, due to their potential capacity to generate debate and political controversy. For the time being, unlike what happens in the major EU states, we note that smaller Spanish political parties provide little or scant attention to Turkeys integration process into the EU. However, two trends can be observed. The first trend is represented by leftist parties like Izquierda Unida (IU), Iniciativa per Catalunya Verds (ICV) and Esquerra Republicana de Catalunya (ERC). These political forces were positioned in the nineties, and even earlier, as the parties most critical of violations of human rights in Turkey and the situation of the Kurdish population. However, since 2002 and especially since 2004, these parties agree that the EU provides a framework to build the necessary democratic reforms in Turkey, while urging Turkey to change its policy regarding some controversial issues. This applies to the demands for the recognition of Armenian genocide and to the military presence in Cyprus, as expressed by the MEP and Executive Coordinator of International Policy of Izquierda Unida, Willy Meyer, to the Committee of European Parliament's Foreign Affairs16. Similarly, Esquerra Republicana de Catalunya showed its support in the
Aznar, J.M., Carnero, A., Herrera M., 2009. Europa: Propuestas de Libertad., FAES: Madrid. 16 IU, 2009. Tu voz en Europa: Programa Electoral Elecciones Europeas 2009: Izquierda Unida. Spain: IU.

Spanish Parliament to the entry of Turkey into the EU. Nevertheless, it also emphasized that the party could not ignore the under-representation of the Kurdish people and the great military occupation taking place now in Turkish Kurdistan17. A less enthusiastic trend has been followed by centreright nationalist parties, such as the Catalan group Convergncia i Uni (CiU) and the Basque Nationalist Party (PNV). Members of both coalitions have expressed their preference for a privileged partnership status, in line with the German Christian-Democrats, with whom they have strong links. For instance, Josep Antoni Duran i Lleida, member of CiU and chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Spanish Parliament, lamented in a recent article that no one has sufficiently extolled the benefits of a preferential relation with Turkey instead of full membership. Duran i Lleida also affirmed that although the EU has to be responsible and cannot break unilaterally its promises, it is also legitimate to consider that Turkey does not meet the requirements to become a member of the EU18. In addition, there is a segment of Convergencia i Uni that, besides these strategic considerations, has insisted on the need to preserve Catalan production of hazelnuts from the competition of Turkish products. However, Turkey is not a major issue in the international and European agendas of these parties, and they have never used their key


ERC, 2008. Eleccions 2008 al Congrs dels Diputats: Programa Electoral. Objectiu: un pas de 1 (per aix volem la independncia) 18 Duran i Lleida, J.A. 2009. Reflexiones sobre dos dcadas de poltica exterior espaola in Fundaci CIDOB, Anuario Internacional Cidob 2009. Claves para interpretar la Poltica Exterior Espaola y las Relaciones Internacionales en 2008, Fundacin CIDOB: Barcelona, 2009, pp. 325-335.

position in Spanish politics to shift the Spanish policy of support for Turkeys accession.

Media Coverage In Spain, there has been a persistent lack of knowledge about Turkey. However, the Spanish media increasingly echoes what happens in the country. Some media - and not necessarily those with the highest circulation - have correspondents in Istanbul or regular contributors covering the main political, economic and social issues of the country19. In addition, discussions on the accession process of Turkey into the EU are covered by correspondents from Brussels and even from other capitals such as Berlin and Paris. Articles and opinions published in important Spanish newspapers are often even more influential than the news coverage. In this case we find few examples, but the vast majority of columns and editorials support Turkey's entry to the EU. Ideas such as respect, reciprocity, consistency, integration and democracy are underlined in the texts published by the Spanish press. As an example, we can quote Antonio Elorzas article in El Pais, where this columnist argues that the EU should pursue the accession negotiations if it is willing to promote and consolidate political reforms in Turkey20.


This is the case of Ricardo Gins writing in La Vanguardia and Andrs Mourenza publishing in El Periodico de Catalunya 20 Elorza, A., 2008. Espaa, Turqua, Alianza in El Pas, 26 January.

Simultaneously, episodic controversies have come up when the Turkish question has been associated with issues such as the Alliance of Civilizations or the cartoons crisis. In these cases, attacks by conservative media such as ABC and El Mundo have found their way to question the common impulse of Spain and Turkey in these areas. Instead, media closer to the government, such as El Pas, have held different positions and its columnists have praised the joint work of Erdogan and Zapatero at the international level. An example of this trend is the article written by Josep Ramoneda, who criticises the conservative attitude of France and Germany and considers that it is time for Spain to pull Turkey towards Europe, and co-sponsoring the Alliance of Civilizations is an opportunity to prove that it is not a self-serving fiction between two leaders in search of recognition, as criticised the opposition to the current government21.

Public Opinion and Civil Society The low intensity of the debate in the political sphere and the media is clearly reflected in the state of public opinion. The Spanish population ends up being one of the most favourable in Europe as regards Turkeys EU membership, but it is also one of the most indifferent. Furthermore, a defining characteristic of Spanish public opinion, which is well reflected in the chart below, is that in recent years the support of its citizens to Turkish membership has increased.


Ramoneda, J., 2009. Alianza por Estambul in El Pas 5 July.


Source: Eurobarometer 69, 2008 This level of support and indifference of the Spanish population is closely linked, firstly, to a general misinformation in relation to European issues and particularly on enlargement. According to Eurobarometer data, Spanish society (15%) is, along with Portugal (15%), Greece (17%) and Malta (17%), one of the least informed about the process of EU enlargement22. Secondly, this is related to the fact that the Turkish population residing in Spain barely exceeds 1,000 people; thus, fears that Turkey's entry into the EU will lead to a massive influx of Turkish population are much lower than in other European countries. Thirdly, it is related to the fact that there are no lobbies whose focal point is the defence or refusal of Turkeys accession.


European Commission, 2006. Eurobarometer Special Survey 255.


However, business circles have always been inclined in favour of that accession, while human rights activists have been more cautions. For instance, we do find organizations that have paid attention to the human rights situation in Turkey and to the Kurdish question. There are various information and documentation centres whose purpose is to reveal the reality of Kurdish people and denounce the situation. This is the case of the information centre and cooperation with Kurdistan from Madrid, or the Catalan NGO Sodepau. Also, Basque organisations place a strong accent on the struggle for self-determination of Kurdish movements, with whom they identify. Meanwhile, although in a more discreet manner, voices of those who demand the recognition of the Armenian genocide start to be heard23. Despite these claims, none of these organizations are strong enough to influence public opinion and shape Spanish political debate concerning the Turkish question. Although Spanish think-tanks are neither as large nor as influential as their counterparts in the United States or the United Kingdom, they have experienced remarkable growth over the last decade. It is interesting to note that the leading think-tanks, both in Madrid (FRIDE, Real Instituto Elcano, Fundacin Altnernativas) and in Barcelona (CIDOB, IEMed) have either been engaged on Euro-Turkish relations or have published analysis regarding the Turkish question. In all these cases, the position has been in favour of membership and, above all, against any discriminatory formula.

See, for example, the Cultural Armenian Association in Barcelona (Asociacin Cultural Armenia de Barcelona) or the Hispano Armenian Association Hokis.


The exceptions are some think-tanks and foundations close to the most conservative sectors of the Popular Party. FAES Foundation and Grupo de Estudios Estratgicos (GEES) have served as platforms, on the one hand, to express the need to keep Turkey anchored in the West and, on the other, to start questioning Turkish Europeanness and defending the idea of privileged partnership24.

Conclusions and Future Prospects On these pages we have seen, in broad strokes, that Spain remains one of the EU countries that are positioned more clearly and unambiguously in favour of the prospect of Turkey joining the EU. Unlike what happens in other European countries, it is a topic that generates little political controversy and that is not present among the concerns of the public opinion. However, we have seen that in recent years, more sceptical views have been expressed. Conservative politicians have started questioning an unconditional support to Turkeys EU membership, insisting that the EUs absorption capacity is limited, doubting Turkeys Europeanness, and proposing an alternative such as a privileged partnership. Two questions are raised over the future: (1) what can be expected of Spain during its EU presidency in the first half of the year?; (2) will a change of government in Spain mean a change of position in relation to Turkish accession?

Portero, F. 2006. Es Turqua asimilable? GEES [internet] 19 September. Available at: [Accessed 2 October 2009].

Regarding the first question, Spain is expected, to the extent of its possibilities, to boost the enlargement negotiations. As important as the opening of new chapters (for this semester it is expected to work in the chapter on food security), is to dispel doubts about the ultimate goal of the negotiations. In this sense, Spanish officials, starting with the Minister Moratinos, are working to ensure the irreversibility of the accession process25. However, there is little that Spain can do to change the position held by France and Germany on this issue or to resolve the longlasting Cyprus question. The answer to the second question is much more uncertain, and this is not just because the next elections are scheduled for 2012. If the PSOE wins the elections again, the support and justification of support will continue as long as the Turkish government pursues the necessary reforms. Less predictable is the position which can eventually hold an executive headed by the Popular Party. So far, this party has proven to hold different positions depending on whether it is in the government or in the opposition. If the Popular Party comes to power, Spains governmental position will depend on who is in charge of European and international politics, since inside the party coexist different positions towards Turkey. The official position will also depend on the alliances established by the new government and the European leaders, and whether the issue of Turkey is a priority in their agenda.


J.C.S. (2008) Espaa quiere que el proceso de adhesin de Turqua a la UE sea irreversible in El Pas, 21 October.

To sum up, although there is continuity in Spanish policy towards Turkey and it has provoked little controversy among its citizens, we must not fail to look closely at what happens in Spain. In the near future, it is quite likely that Spain will still be considered one of the main supporters of Turkeys EU membership, and that this position will be maintained during Spains EU Presidency during the first half of 2010. However, there is also the possibility of a new and more sceptical stream growing among conservative circles, and this might nuance Spains unanimous support for Turkeys accession in the future.


Athanasios C. Kotsiaros1 Greek Perceptions

Abstract Turkeys accession into the European Union is one of the most controversial and divisive topics that the EU faces. Both EU governments and citizens are deeply divided on whether Turkey should become a member of the European Union or not. In Greece, after a major breakthrough for Greek diplomacy in the Helsinki Summit in 1999, political elites consistently support Turkeys prospect of accession into the European family. On the other hand, Greek media and public opinion remain reluctant towards this prospect, even though they support the EU policy of enlargement as a whole. Within this framework, this article highlights Greek media, citizens and political elites opinion towards Turkeys accession into the EU in the period 2006-2009 and analyses which key elements determine the support for or the opposition to the Turkish membership.

Dr. Athanasios C. Kotsiaros is an Advisor in the National Parliament of Greece, as well as Research Fellow in the Institute of European Integration and Policy of the University of Athens and an associate of the Greek Centre of European Studies and Research (EKEME). The opinions expressed herein are only those of the author and do not reflect any institutional views.

Introduction The efforts to construct, strengthen and disseminate a European identity have always been an elite-driven and a top-down process. This statement applies to the case of Turkey too. The political elites of the country have traditionally generated modernization efforts and ascertained on every occasion that the country, being a part of Europe, belongs to the Western world. Within this framework, Turkey first applied for associate membership in the European Economic Community in 1959, and on 12 September 1963 signed the Association Agreement. Some decades later, in the Helsinki Summit of 1999, Turkey was granted official candidate status for accession into the EU, after a momentous agreement between the Turkish and the European political elites. Accession talks with Turkey opened symbolically on the 3rd October 2005, and on the 12th June 2006, the EU started concrete accession negotiations. The negotiating framework specifies 35 chapters, which all need to be opened and closed by a unanimously agreed common position of all member states and a unanimous agreement in the intergovernmental conference that includes all member states and Turkey.

The Helsinki Summit Momentum In a genuine breakthrough for Greek diplomacy, Greece abandoned at the Helsinki Summit the veto policy against Turkeys prospects for EU-membership, thus contributing to opening the way for granting Turkey a candidate status and

preparing the main job working out the conditions under which membership could be feasible and mutually acceptable. In Helsinki, it was also agreed that the settlement of the Cyprus problem is not a precondition for its accession into the EU and moreover, that the European Council will promote the settlement of any outstanding border disputes and other related issues through the International Court of Justice (ICJ), at the latest by the end of 2004. 2 Indisputably, Helsinki was a culmination of the new phase in Greek foreign policy and the outcome of a critical reevaluation of Greece's national interests.3 The latter perceived that it is in its best interest that Turkey moves closer to Europe. More importantly, Helsinki assured a double gain for the Greek Diplomacy: (a) it secured the entry of Cyprus into the EU without any previous resolution of the political problem and (b) it promoted the settlement of any bilateral problems between the two neighbours through the International Court of Justice (ICJ). With respect to the reference of bilateral issues to the ICJ, there is one significant difference between the two major political parties in Greece. The socialists, PASOK, which negotiated Helsinki, forwarded the idea to refer the issue of the Continental Shelf to the ICJ. 4 Some years later, the New Democracy government inserts the phrase if necessary, as it starts to balance
See: Presidency Conclusions, Helsinki European Council, 10 - 11 December 1999, paragraphs 4 and 9a. 3 See: Wendt A., Anarchy is what states make of it: social construction of power politics, International Organization, Vol. 46, No. 2, Spring 1992, pp. 391-425. 4 Greece recognizes the delimitation of the Continental Shelf as the only legal difference between the two countries.

advantages and disadvantages of a judicial process in The Hague.5 Nowadays, a small minority of the political elites speaks even about referring all bilateral issues to the ICJ.

The Shift of the Greek Policy and the National Political Elite Discourse A study of the Greek national official discourse in the last years reveals the main concerns on the Greek - Turkish relations, but also the gradual change of the national political elites views. Until the recent past, the main issues discussed in the National Parliament were the security problems that Turkey poses to Greece. The common feeling, not only that of the officials, but that of the public opinion also, was that Turkey poses a security threat to Greece and that its aggressive behavior aims at the revisionism of the status quo in the Aegean. Even after the Helsinki Summit, as well as the two earthquakes of 1999 (and the followed-up so called Earthquake diplomacy) that the climate changes in the course of the bilateral relations, the main Greek concern remains the issue of Turkeys external (aggressive) behavior. Recently, in the new era of cooperation between the two countries, especially in the period 2005-2009, the Greek official discourse moves from national security uncertainties to a more pro-European debate, with positive references to the reform

Personal interview with G. Glinos, economist and former counselor in the European Commission.

process taking place in Turkey and statements of support to the countrys European candidacy. In particular, for the government party, New Democracy, as well as for the main opposition party, PASOK, the view towards the Turkish membership is rather clear: Turkey needs to accelerate the reform process, remain loyal to its European goal and gradually implement the acquis communautaire. A European Turkey equalizes to a less dangerous neighbour, a more important economic partner and a guarantee for a more secure regional environment. Similarly, it may provide the context for a peaceful settlement of a series of bilateral issues (i.e. the Aegean issue, minority rights and the Cyprus issue). In the period 2005-2009, the two major political parties, which traditionally represent roughly 70-75% of the Greek vote, have consistently supported the Turkish membership. The points of disagreement and criticism between the two main players of the Greek political scene relate to the strategy each time adopted, the priorities set and the way the Greek national interests are being defended. Nevertheless, both parties stress that the Copenhagen criteria must be fulfilled and that the full adoption of the acquis, the signing of the Ankara Protocol, the resolution of the Cyprus problem and the protection of the Greek minorities in Turkey are undisputable preconditions for entry. According to the position of the Greek government, the New Democracy party, Greece supports Turkeys accession as a full member of the EU, provided that Turkey fully implements the terms and criteria established. In this respect, Greece asks Turkey to ensure the irreversibility of the political reform process and its

implementation, especially as concerns fundamental freedoms and full respect of human rights, which include the issues of the Ecumenical Patriarchate and the Greek minority, as well as the settlement of any outstanding border differences by peaceful means.6 Moreover, a priority issue in Turkeys accession course is the need to ratify and implement the Additional Protocol to the EU Association Agreement, as that alone will allow the Customs Union to operate with the 25, including Cyprus.7 Similarly, for the socialist PASOK party, which motivated the gradual change of the Greek Foreign policy at the end of the 90s and opened the way for the start of the EU Turkey accession negotiations, Turkey may have a place in the European Union, provided that it adjusts to the European criteria, behaves according to the International Law, contributes to a resolution of the Cyprus issue and proceeds to the withdrawal of all Turkish troops from the island.8 PASOK also proposes a new National Strategy for Peace and Security in the region and forwards the signing of a Peace and Security Pact with Turkey.9 The smaller parties of the political spectrum, adopt a more critical or skeptical stance with regard to the prospect of
See: Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Official Positions on Turkey: 7 Ibid. 8 See: Speech by the President of PASOK, G. Papandreou, on the 4th of May 2009 in the Andreas Papandreou Institute of Strategic and Development Studies (ISTAME), under the title: The Europe we want ( 9 See: Political positions of PASOK:

Turkish accession. Especially, the Greek Communist Party, KKE, is against the Turkish membership and it even rejects the idea of European integration as a whole.10 Respectively, it argues that no country needs the European Union, as the latter stands for liberalism, capitalist profit, the suppression of workers rights and militarization. The Coalition of the Radical Left, SIRIZA, stresses in its political program that it supports the accession negotiations of Turkey with the EU. However, it underlines that the candidate country needs to fulfill the Copenhagen criteria, accelerate the democratization process, as well as protect human and minority rights. With regard to the bilateral issues, the Party is in favour of the dialogue based on the International Law and expects positive gestures from Turkey, such as the lifting of the casus belli, the reference of the Continental Shelf in the ICJ and the reduction of military expenses.11 Finally, the Party of the radical right, LAOS, adopts a more nationalistic political discourse towards Turkey and openly rejects the prospect of its accession into the EU, if it does not fulfill the Copenhagen criteria and contribute to the settlement of the Cyprus issue.12


See: Campaign of the Greek Communist Party for the 2009 European Parliament Elections. 11 See: Program of the Party Synaspismos, goal 12. 12 See: Program of the Party LAOS, p. 27.

The Argument of the Greek Political Elites in favour of the European Path of Turkey Greeces support for Turkeys EU candidacy is based on the conviction that Turkey will be motivated by the prospect of future membership to work on domestic political and economic issues, and to act as a responsible member of the European community. Greece has succeeded in convincing its European partners that Turkish claims regarding Greece and the Cyprus problem are European issues, which Greece cannot be expected to resolve single-handedly. Perhaps, Greek political elites intentionally omit the fact that the Greek-Cypriots are the ones who rejected the Annan Plan in 2004, while Turkish Cypriots agreed, with Turkey playing a productive and positive role in the whole process. Albeit the arguments that the forwarded solution was not feasible and operational, the Turkish side is not the one to blame for the failure of the Annan Plan. According to the Greek argument, bringing Turkey closer to Europe will bring greater security and stability to South-Eastern Europe and will help achieve a climate of security, economic development, democratization and enhanced cooperation among all the countries of the region. Within this framework, the present New Democracy government, in line with the views of the previous PASOK governments, apparently hopes to become able to resolve a number of outstanding issues with Ankara through a supportive vote (including the ratification of the Ankara Protocol and the settlement of the dispute over divided Cyprus). With respect to the above, it has openly manifested goodwill towards the Turkish bid, while the Greek public expresses its reservations.

The View of the Greek Public: the Openly Expressed Rejection For the Greek public, support for Turkish membership is not only low, it is also declining. Whereas accession candidates from the Western Balkans have benefited from increased public support for enlargement as a consequence of the 2004 enlargement, Turkey has been an exception to this trend. In the period 2005-2009, Turkish membership is proving to be the least popular among recent EU enlargement processes for the Greeks. According to the relevant Eurobarometers13 conducted, Greek citizens support the Enlargement as a whole, but they disagree with Turkeys EU prospects. In particular, in 2005 and 2006 the Greeks supported the Enlargement (56% in 2005 and 71% in 2006), while they were against the Turkish prospect of accession (only 24% of the Greeks supported it in 2006). In 2007, 56% of the Greek public was in favour of the Enlargement (the relevant Eurobarometers contain no question on the Turkish membership). In 2008, 62% of the Greek public opinion was for a further Enlargement, but 78% (!) was against Turkeys EU prospect. The lack of Greek public support for Turkish membership can be understood along the following dimensions: (a) the public does not recognize (or comprehend) the benefits of a possible entry of Turkey into the EU, (b) it does not regard Turkey as qualified member for entry (the common view of the Greek public opinion is that Turkey needs to develop its economy, accelerate the democratization process, and contribute to the resolution of the

See: Eurobarometer, National Report Greece, Numbers 65, 66, 67, 68, 69, 70.

Cyprus political problem), (c) Turkey does not belong to Europe because of its historical past (83% of the Greeks shared that view, in 200614) and not because of its geographical position (41% considered so, in 200615) and (d) Greeks expect a continued influx of mass immigration from Turkey (82%, in 2006). For the Greek public, and contrary to the majority of the EU citizens, religious identity-related arguments play no significant role. Greece remains a conservative society, where the role of religion is dominant. Nevertheless, Greek public opinions attitude with regard to the Turkish accession does not derive so much from the religious element (Turkey being a Muslim country), but from the historic memories of their once-upon-a-time oppressors who are still perceived as posing a threat. This also explains why every strategy, especially in the last five years, to Europeanize the national debates on Turkeys membership has failed. Consequently, the more the discourse on Turkey is conducted along security lines, the more likely it is that support for Turkish accession will remain low. Conversely, the more the discussion on Greeces benefits due to Turkeys possible accession to the EU, the more likely it is that support will be rising. Within this framework, the role of the Greek media is vital.

14 15

According to the Eurobarometer 66, National Report for Greece, p. 37. Ibid.

The Greek Media: Reluctance Towards the Turkish Bid In the case of Greece and Turkey, media have traditionally played an important role in the bilateral relations. After 2005, things have changed on both coasts of the Aegean. With respect to the Turkish candidacy to the EU, Greek media have manifested goodwill, though they remain very skeptical on the prospect. Every Progress Report on Turkey, published by the EU Commission, is being analyzed, every relevant EU Council or EU Presidency Conclusions widely covered. Notwithstanding, in terms of news coverage, Greek media are far more interested in the developments in the internal political scene of Turkey, rather than the progress of the countrys negotiations with the EU. It is noteworthy that they lately cultivate a climate of cooperation, adding importance in every bilateral contact or agreement of the political elites. Greek Media extensively broadcast the tensions in the internal political scene of Turkey, which are attributed to a battle between the Kemalists and the Islamists and to the powerful political role of the Turkish military. Respectively, there are implications that the country lacks a functioning democracy, the military intervenes in internal political affairs, minority and human rights are insufficiently protected. Above all, they refer to Greek Orthodox minority rights, the recognition of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, the opening of the Halki Theological School16, while

On the 28th June 2009, Culture Minister Ertugrul Gunay said the AKP government was inclined to re-open the school, even though a final decision was not yet made.


they set importance on security issues, as well as developments in the Cyprus issue. With regard to the European membership of Turkey, Greek media remain reluctant. The European debates about identity issues, the limits of Europe or the consequences of a possible Turkish accession, are not discussed and as a result have never reached the Greek audience. The media debate is limited to the progress of Turkey itself (democratization process and reforms) and to the issues of national concern (i.e. the resolution of the Cyprus problem, the opening of the Halki Seminary, etc.). Additionally, Greek media often question the possibility of the settlement and resolution of the bilateral issues through the European project of Turkey. Respectively, Greek media openly doubt the rightness of the project itself. Recently, the visit of US President B. H. Obama to Turkey attracted the attention of the Greek media and emphasis was given to Obamas support to the Turkish candidacy to join the EU.

Conclusion Greek political elites strongly support the Turkish accession into the EU, although the matter still remains open ended. The recent change of the Greek official discourse signifies a major change in the views of the national political elites, which nowadays aim at the establishment of a secure environment between the two countries through Turkeys European membership. The change of the Greek Parliamentarians debate from security issues towards pro-European and supportive

statements reveals the support of the Greek political elites to Turkeys accession negotiations. On the other hand, the current analysis clearly indicates that the Greek public is rather skeptical towards the Turkish membership. Similarly, Greek media are reluctant and they openly express their uncertainties on Turkeys European project. Provided that the trend of the public unwillingness to support the countrys prospect continues and Greek media follow the same trend, Greek public consensus on the issue will be very hard to reach. This leaves the political elites as the only official supporters of the EU-Turkey negotiations. This reflection indisputably leads us to our very first argument: the process of European integration is being driven (and continues to be) by elite actions. These are the ones who should support the Turkish membership; these are the ones who should pave the way for the accession of Turkey into the EU. And as long as the issue of the Turkish accession does not directly affect the setting of the domestic political agenda, Greek public opinion will not play any vital role in the whole process. Consequently, for Greece, the European project of Turkey was, is and will continue to be, a question of the political elites.



Gunilla Herolf* Swedish Perceptions

Abstract The Swedish Governments view of a Turkish candidacy to the European Union is positive, and has been so for some time. A democratic and open Turkey, fulfilling the Copenhagen criteria, will be able to contribute a lot to the EU and to serve as a bridge between Europe and the Muslim world. Since all parties represented in the Swedish Parliament are positive, there is in Sweden hardly any debate about Turkish membership. The focus of interest is therefore on the pace of Turkish reform and on the importance that the EU will not send signals to Turkey that will counteract these reforms. Sweden has taken initiatives to help Turkey in this regard, even though the hoped-for progress in negotiations during the Swedish presidency will not be possible. Since Turkish membership is seen in a long term perspective, the hope is that resistance within Europe and also among the Swedish population will eventually recede.

Introduction The Swedish Government, being strongly for continued EU enlargement, sees Turkey as a natural member of the EU once
The opinions expressed herein are only those of the author and do not reflect any institutional views.

it fulfills the Copenhagen criteria. It is also devoting some efforts to this end. There are, however, several hurdles along the way for a Turkish membership of the EU.

Media The Swedish media do not have any individual role as regards the issue of Turkish membership of the EU. Generally, the editorial pages of newspapers reflect the Swedish political parties views that Turkey should be allowed membership of the Union but under the condition that the Copenhagen criteria have been fulfilled. In addition, they give room for discussion on this and other issues, thus giving persons with contrary views on Turkish membership the possibility to argue their opinions. The editorial pages may also contain comments on the Swedish attitudes. One of the major daily newspapers in May 2007 commented on the discrepancy between the positive views on Turkish membership held by all the Swedish political parties, which explains why there has been no real debate, and the attitudes of the Swedish population, which had recently turned more negative. There were many good reasons for Turkish membership, as argued by the editorial commentator, but considering the gap between the established political parties and people in general, these arguments had to be voiced openly and lead to an open debate.1

S. Holmberg and R. Lindahl, Positiva opinionsvindar fr EU [Positive opinion winds for the EU] in S. Holmberg and L. Weibull (eds) Det nya Sverige, Trettiosju kapitel om politik, medier och samhlle, SOM105

The Government Whether led by the Social Democratic Party (1994 2006) or, as now, by an alliance of non-socialist parties (the Moderates, the Liberals, the Christian Democrats and the Centre Party), the Swedish Governments view on Turkish membership of the EU has been positive. The Swedish Governments have been among the group of governments most positive to enlargement of the European Union. The Swedish Prime Minister, Fredrik Reinfeldt, when visiting Turkey in April 2009, expressed the Swedish position in the following way: It is my conviction that the EU needs Turkey, and that Turkey needs the EU. This is why Sweden supports Turkish membership of the EU. Turkey is a secular democracy, which belongs in Europe. Turkey brings together East and West and has unique possibilities to unite different cultures with each other. The EU cannot afford to disregard this.2 Membership for Turkey has not been seen to be without preconditions or to be reached quickly. As stated by the Minister for EU Affairs, Cecilia Malmstrm, We support membership when Turkey fulfils the criteria because we believe that a
underskningen 2006, SOM-rapport nr 41[The New Sweden, Thirtyseven chapters on politics, media and society, SOM Survey 2006, SOM Report no. 41], Gteborg: SOM-institutet, 2007, commented in Svenska Dagbladet, Massiv opinion mot turkiskt medlemskap [Massive opinion against Turkish membership], 8 May 2007. See also ref. no. 16. 3 Tal av statsminister Fredrik Reinfeldt i Kulu, Turkiet, den 21 april 2009 [Speech by Prime Minister, Fredrik Reinfeldt in Kulu, Turkey, 21 April 2009],

democratic and open Turkey has a lot to contribute to the EU and that the country can serve as an important bridge between Europe and the Muslim world. Membership is of course very far into the future but it is important that we forward positive signals to Turkey and to all those who want the Prime Minister and the Government to approach Europe and bring the country into the EU. 3 In order to further the Turkish process towards the EU and deepen the bilateral relations between Sweden and Turkey, the Swedish Foreign Ministry, in cooperation with the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA) and the Consulate General in Istanbul, initiated a special Turkey Programme. The programme, which started after the start of the Turkish negotiations on 3 October 2005, aims to support the democracy process and the work of respecting human rights.4 The Swedish Governments positive view on Turkey in the European Union is not shared by, among others, French President Sarkozy, who visited Sweden on 3 July, just after the start of the Swedish presidency. Sweden and France agree on a number of vital EU issues, but enlargement, and in particular that of Turkey, is not one of them. Reinfeldt on this occasion declared that while the Swedish viewpoint was well known, he would respect the differences in opinion within the EU and did not see it

C. Malmstrm, Minister for EU Affairs, Turkiet och EU [Turkey and the EU], Europaforum, Hssleholm 8 April 2008, 5 Turkietprogrammet [The Turkey Programme],

as his task to put pressure on countries with other views in order to push them to share the Swedish ones.5

Turkey and the Criteria The Turkish reform process, with its positive and negative aspects, has been commented on in many speeches. The Minister for EU Affairs, in a speech on 8 April 2008, brought up what she saw as a number of important changes: The death penalty has been abolished and the government has declared zero tolerance towards torture and introduced laws to support this even though the implementation still has some flaws. The new penal law includes strengthened rights for women, not least concerning so called honour crimes. The influence of the military in political life continues to be substantial, but new laws limit it. Much remains to be done in this area, however. The right of free speech is protected by basic law in Turkey, but the many cases in which authors and other intellectuals have been and continue to be prosecuted demonstrates at the same time that there are many taboos that need to be addressed. The almost notorious Article 301 in the penal law needs to be basically changed or removed. It represents exaggerated protection of the state and its symbols. During his visit the previous week to
I. Hedstrm, Barroso svr nt fr Reinfeldt [Barroso tough issue for Reinfeldt], Dagens Nyheter, 3 July 2009,

Sweden, Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan had assured that the Turkish Parliament was preparing a change of this law. There were, however, also other laws of the same character that needed to be changed. According to the Swedish Minister for EU Affairs, Mr Erdogan had also promised a proposal for a new basic law and the issue of freedom of speech, to be brought up on the agenda again. Furthermore, progress has been made in the area of cultural rights. Somewhat improved rights now exist for Kurds to use their language openly. Public and private radio and TV emissions in Kurdish exist to some degree. At the same time, the Minister said, discrimination is still known to be very extensive and the Kurds are not recognized as the large minority that in fact they are. The extensive terrorism which has been and continues to be aimed at Turkey has impaired efforts to create dialogue and confidence. The Minister declared that Sweden counted on the promise by Prime Minister Erdogan to put into action his words that the Kurdish problem is my problem and to address sustainable economic and social development in southeastern Turkey. As regards the issue of a reunited Cyprus, a positive development is seen as having taken place during the last few months, such as the opening of the Ledra street in Nicosia (to recall: this speech was made in April 2008). The Turkish government deserves credit for siding with the Kofi Annan plan, a domestically sensitive issue, and it is tragic for the Cypriots

themselves, for Turkey and for the EU that the Greek Cypriots rejected the plan. Sweden and the EU have every reason to support the development very strongly. For Turkey, a solution would mean an energy injection into the Turkish negotiations.6

The Turkish Negotiation Process The Swedish ambition in the spring of 2008 was that additional chapters should be opened during the 18-month FrenchCzech-Swedish team presidency to add to the six chapters opened at that time and the two-three chapters that were hopefully to be opened during the Slovenian presidency.. As stated by the Minister for EU Affairs, the speed was, however, ultimately to be decided by the willingness of Ankara to reform. The Copenhagen Criteria must be followed. 7 In an interview in connection with Sweden assuming the presidency of the EU, Prime Minister Reinfeldt declared that continued progress in the negotiations with Turkey was a priority issue, but the success of it would above all depend on the reform efforts of Turkey itself. During the Swedish presidency, the progress on the implementation of the so called Ankara Protocol would be followed-up and reviewed. A resolution of the Cyprus issue would of course have positive effects on the Turkish EU process, as well as for the region and the EU in its entirety.8

C. Malmstrm (see 3) C. Malmstrm, (see ref. no. 3) 9 Det svenska ordfrandeskapet kommer att arbeta fr en lngsiktig ekonomisk terhmtning i EU [The Swedish Presidency intends to start working on a long8


The EU Attitude to Turkish Membership Minister Malmstrm, in her speech in April 2008, was also critical towards some other EU members because of their attitudes towards Turkey. Partly, she said, Turkish skepticism was a result of the way in which the EU had invited Turkey to the negotiation table. In its final conclusions, the Council had declared that negotiations were no guarantee for membership and that exceptions to the free movement of labour could become permanent. The reason, she said, why some countries simply did not want to see Turkey as a member was related to worries about increasing unemployment and globalization, but als about the change of power within the Council and the costs for the EU that a Turkish membership would entail. In some cases there was also xenophobia and islamophobia. The message sent to the Turks was that it did not matter if Turkey did all that the EU demanded when that day came, the EU would still consider if they wanted Turkey and if they could afford letting the Turks in.9 However, according to Minister Malmstrm, the dominating view among EU member states was that the EU has promised Turkey a fair chance. If Turkey would comply with all the demands of the EU, it should be able to become a member. This was the perspective that had been behind the reform process in Turkey during the last few years. This was also, she said, the signal that Sweden was sending to Turkey. On that day when Turkey fulfilled the criteria, it belonged in the European Union as a full member. If the EU was not clear about this, it risked
term economic recovery of the EU], 10 C. Malmstrm (see 3).

weakening the reform process and, in the worst case, rejecting Turkey at a time when we were all depending more than ever on stability and democracy in the part of Europe bordering on the worlds possibly most troubled region, the Middle East. Here, Turkey was a partner of immense importance. A Turkey cut off from the EU process would threaten not only the reform process in Turkey, but also in all other candidate and potential candidate countries. This would also lead to a serious crisis between the EU and Turkey, with regional and maybe global consequences for the reputation of the EU and its credibility as a negotiating partner. 10

Human Rights A report by the Swedish Foreign Ministry in 2007 dealt with the situation in Turkey in terms of human rights. The overall view stated that during the last few years a large number of reforms had been undertaken as a result of closer relations to the EU. Large parts of the Constitution as well as other laws had been revised in accordance with the Copenhagen Criteria. The year 2007 was dominated by political crises connected to parliamentary and presidential elections. Democracy came out stronger after these crises, among other things as a result of the voters clear disapproval of those who had used undemocratic methods when trying to prevent the presidential election, and by the Parliament


C. Malmstrm (see ref. no. 3)


becoming more representative after the election. However, reform work had suffered during this period.11 The report furthermore referred to the strong promises of continued reforms, including revision of the Constitution. It was noted that there existed in Turkish law a tendency to protect the state, its highest officials, institutions and flag rather than to protect the individual. Other aspects brought up were the lack of development in Kurdish areas and the situation of women being underrepresented in politics and working life. Furthermore, it was noted that more women than men were illiterate and that violence against women was a widespread problem.12

Opposition and Debate about Turkish Membership Turkish membership is no issue in the Swedish political discussion, since all the political parties represented in the Swedish Parliament are positive. Outside the Swedish Parliament (since they have gathered less than the required four per cent of votes), the xenophobic Sweden Democrats argue that Turkey does not belong in the EU. They refer to the enormous economic costs, the accelerated increase of Islam in Europe, the strong increase in immigration leading to lower salaries also for Swedes, and the

12Mnskliga rttigheter i Turkiet 2007 [Human Rights in Turkey 2007] Regeringskansliet, Utrikesdepartementet [Government Offices, Foreign Ministry] 13 Ibid.

prospect of Sweden in the future being forced to defend Turkey in a conflict with Iraqi Kurdistan.13 Opposition to Turkish membership may also be found among individuals in Sweden, including among members of parties whose leadership is strongly positive. One such case is Fredrik Malm, member of the Liberal Party, whose view is that the Swedish government is too lenient towards Turkey on the Kurdish issue. As he sees it, the main problem causing the lack of progress in the Turkish negotiations is that Turkey does not implement the reforms demanded by the EU. Mr Erdogans party, the AKP, having been in power in Turkey for more than six years and with a majority in Parliament, should have been able to do more. The problem, Malm argues, is not the fact that Turkey is a Muslim country or a big country, but the fact that the values on which EU cooperation rests are different from those on which the Turkish state is built. Fredrik Malm, stating that he is positive to a future Turkish membership, claims that such membership must be preceded by an honest will to reform and would be helped by a Swedish Presidency that is stronger in its demands for reforms by Turkey.14 Among individual members of the political parties a debate related to Turkish membership takes place, which shows wide variation in terms of arguments. One example is that the Swedish Moderates were criticized by a Social Democrat not because of their own views on Turkish membership but because their partners within the EPP group in the European Parliament are

Sven-Olof Sllstrm, 15Svenska Dagbladet, Fredrik Malm, Stng drren fr Turkiet [Close the door for Turkey], 28 May 2009.

negative towards Turkey joining the Union.15 Other articles on the same site argue, for example, that Turkey in the EU shows that Islam and democracy can co-exist, Membership can turn Turkey into a liberal market economy and that the Cyprus conflict must be solved first. The conviction shared by all parties represented in the Swedish parliament, that Turkey should be allowed to join the EU is, however, not shared by the population. In the Gteborg University SOM Survey of 2008, 48 per cent were against Turkish membership, whereas only 13 per cent were in favour of it. (These figures were very similar to those of the survey of 2007, in which 49 per cent were against and 12 per cent for). In both years surveys as many as 39 per cent of the respondents were uncertain.16 One reason for the large number of uncertain respondents may be that Turkish membership is an issue for the future and under many preconditions, an issue on which people may find it difficult to have an opinion today.

The Civil Society No form of civil society can be distinguished in Sweden as having a particular view or being engaged in the discussion on Turkish membership of the EU. As mentioned above, the established political parties are of the same view and the few

Andreas Sjlander, Newsmill, 17 S. Holmberg, kat opinionsstd fr EU, [Increased public opinion support for the EU] Europapolitisk analys 2008:5; Stockholm: SIEPS; See also S. Holmberg, and R. Lindahl, 2007, ref. no. 1.

dissenting voices are individuals, usually seen in commentaries in newspapers or blogs.

Conclusion The Swedish government, while believing that Turkey can contribute much to Europe and also that Turkey itself needs Europe, has made substantial efforts to bring Turkey closer to EU membership. The Turkey Programme is one example, centring on the Turkish reforms needed. This is a crucial area, since without it no EU membership will take place. While the Swedish Presidency will not succeed in bringing about the hoped for steps forward in negotiations, obviously Sweden will continue to further it during and after the presidency. In time, so is most likely the thinking, European countries will accept Turkish membership. Still, major efforts are required in several areas by Turkey.



Cengiz Gnay* Austrian Perceptions

Austria, alongside Germany and France, can be counted among the most ardent opponents of Turkeys accession to the European Union. The issue has been heatedly discussed in the country. The Austrian discourse on Turkish membership has been strongly shaped by cultural arguments touching on Turkeys alleged lack of Europeanness. However, a closer look at the discourse reveals that the issue is less Turkey itself but that arguments rather revolve around unsolved domestic issues, such as the integration of ever-growing migrant communities. Therefore, one can draw the conclusion that the discourse on Turkeys integration contains many aspects of Austrias painful search for a new multi-cultural identity in a radically changing globalised world. While the broader Turkish public has been well aware of the fact that Austria has been highly critical of Turkeys accession, and while many have not forgiven the Austrian governments tactics to hinder and delay the opening of negotiations back in 2005, only a few know about the issues background and how Austrian attitudes have changed or not changed over the last years, since the beginning of negotiations.

The opinions expressed herein are only those of the author and do not reflect any institutional views.

Background Over the last 15 years, since its own accession to the European Union, the Austrian public has not only become increasingly critical of any further enlargement processes, but also of the EU itself. While back in 1995 more than 66 percent had endorsed membership to the EU in a referendum held that year, approval of EU membership dramatically diminished over the last 14 years, reaching a new high in the debates on the Lisbon Treaty in 2008. However, the current global financial crisis seems to have shown Austrians that being a part of the European Union, instead of being alone, does indeed have advantages. Consequently, support for EU membership is on the rise once again.1 Generally speaking, one can say that in the face of tremendous economic changes, triggered by globalization and liberalization, many Austrians have deemed the country simply too small to have a say, and the double-talk of politicians using Brussels as a scapegoat for unpopular decisions and claiming success for themselves, has increased feelings of uncertainty and distrust in the Union and its institutions.2 Thus, in the domestic debate Brussels was held responsible for rising energy prices; it has often been depicted as a symbol for nuclear energy lobbies or genetic engineering, and rightist populist rhetoric has often denounced the wastefulness of the Brussels bureaucracy.

See; orf online, Zustimmung zu EU laut Umfrage auf Rekordwert, 19.11.2009 2 46 percent of the Austrians think that their country has only little impact on EU decisions. (EU-Skepsis: Die Kommission kritisiert Politik und Krone in: Die Presse, 14 July 2008)

The larger peoples parties VP (Conservatives) and SP (Social Democrats) have failed to continue and, even more so, to implement the pro-EU rhetoric they had pursued before the referendum on accession. While the publics expectations regarding economic savings were high this had constituted the major part of the governments pro-EU campaign prices constantly rose since membership, and the situation in the labour market became increasingly difficult.3 The peoples parties, but also the media, academia and civil society organisations have continuously failed to explain the advantages of membership to the EU. Instead, the issue fell into the hands of the far right, which has increasingly agitated the public against Brusselss dictatorship. While Austria can be counted among the countries which economically benefited most from integration with the former communist countries of Eastern Europe, the Austrian public has also remained rather sceptical of this process. The EUs eastern enlargement, strongly supported by the countrys political, intellectual and economic elites, was hardly promoted. The elites failed to communicate and confer their enthusiasm and they failed to respond to the comprehensible fears and anxieties of the common people. After all, the general public hardly felt any positive effects. Whereas larger companies, banks, and insurance companies benefited from expansion into the neighbouring eastern countries, the economic success of these companies hardly trickled down to the common man. On the contrary, small sized companies faced difficulties adapting to the new competition, and particularly handcraft labourers, workers in the manufacturing sector and
See; Cengiz Gnay, Austrian Stakeholders in the EU-Turkey Debate, Natalie Tocci (ed.), Talking Turkey in Europe: Towards a Differentiated Communication Strategy, Quaderni IAI, December 2008, p. 67

unqualified white-collar workers in the service sector have feared social dumping from the bordering eastern countries. Despite the general publics uncertainties about enlargement and its possible negative consequences, the issue was hardly debated. Even the far right Freedom Party (FP), a party which has seen itself as a kind of Robin Hood, defending the interests of the common man against the elites, but also against threatening foreigners (Auslnder) by ruthlessly stirring up peoples simmering feelings of fear and rage, had refrained from politicising the issue, as it was tied up in a coalition with the conservative VP, and approval to eastern enlargement had been a precondition to participation in the government. Interestingly, while Turkeys membership was not an issue until then, the so-called Turkish Question gained momentum with eastern enlargement in 2004. A break within the far right movement triggered the discussion.

The Turkish Question, also a consequence of eastern enlargement One can easily say that the debate on Turkey compensated for the lack of any discussions revolving around the last two rounds of enlargement. A public discussion on the benefits and costs of Romania and Bulgaria simply did not take place, despite the fact that the public remained rather critical of the accession of both countries.4

Although, Austrian companies and industries are highly involved in the Bulgarian and Romanian financing-sectors as well as energy markets, high

On the other hand, the discourse on Turkeys accession contained many fears, uncertainties and prejudices connected with the transition to an increasingly multi-cultural society. In this context, the integration of growing Muslim migrant communities into what has been perceived as Austrian culture has constituted the biggest challenge, particularly in metropolitan areas. The debate on Turkeys accession coincided with a culturalist global discourse which has prevailed after September 11, and which has been charged with prejudices, anxiety and suspicion against Islam and Muslims. In its campaigns, the far right has used Turkey and Turks the largest group of Muslim migrants in Austria as the representatives of Islam; as such, they have been portrayed as a major threat to Austrian culture, which has been equated with Christian and European civilization. The Freedom Party (FP) used images of Talibans and fully veiled women on its billboards, in order to mobilise against the so-called Islamic Threat. The Freedom Party played with historical narratives deeply buried in the collective memory, excavating images of the terrible medieval Turks, perceived as one of the major historical threats to the country. The partys blue-eyed leader, H.C. Strache, was presented in a historical context as Prince Eugene, the historical figure who saved Vienna from Turkish siege in 1683, and in its electoral campaign for the general elections in 2006, the party applied slogans saying in Viennese dialectic Home instead of Islam or No Turkish EU, demonstrating the seeming incompatibility of Islam and Turkishness with Austria and Europe.
economic involvement could not be transformed into public approval to the membership of the two countries.

Whereas in other European countries the left has often stood against such xenophobic undertones, in Austria, the quality of the discourse on Turkish membership clearly worsened when the then oppositional Social Democrats shifted in 2004 to a hardline position against Turkish membership. The Social Democrats U-turn that year was due to tactical reasons, and aimed at gaining back the partys working class grassroots and the pensioners who have been increasingly susceptible to the far rights culturalist, anti-foreigner and anti-Muslim slogans. The Social Democrats, then the major opposition party, put pressure on the coalition government consisting of the conservative Peoples Party (VP) and the FP and later the Union for Austrias Future (BZ), to hinder the opening of accession talks with Turkey.

The idea of a referendum calms the debate Challenged by the opposition parties and by its own conservative grassroots, the government tried to hinder and delay the opening of accession talks. Strongly backed by the then oppositional German Christian Democrats, Chancellor Schssel tried to promote the concept of a privileged partnership. The governments tactics to hinder and delay the opening of negotiations also aimed at extorting the other member states to also open negotiations with Croatia, which was previously criticised by the Commission for not having sufficiently cooperated with the War Crimes Tribunal in The Hague. After long hours of negotiations behind closed doors and stipulations which emphasised the open-ended character of the negotiations, the Austrian Chancellor and his foreign minister who had been rather isolated in this issue had to give in. In return, the Union

decided to also open negotiations with Croatia. The government sold its tough stance in Brussels as a success and as a proof that Austria has a say in the Union. In order to silence criticism, the Chancellor announced a referendum on Turkeys membership, to be held once the negotiations were completed. While, except for the Greens and a few commentators who pointed to the dangers and warned against xenophobic polarization a referendum might cause, the idea was celebrated by the political elites as a means of countering criticism that EU policies would lack democratic popular support. Disapproval for Turkish membership and the idea to leave the final decision with the people helped to establish a rare moment of cross-party consensus. Tellingly, the political elites have refrained from demanding referenda on other enlargements, such as that of Croatia. While the integration of the Balkans region Austrias historical sphere of political and economic influence lies among the prime goals of the countrys political and economic establishment (in Croatia, for example, Austria is the largest foreign investor with a share of 25% of all foreign direct investments5), there have been hardly any lobbies publicly supporting and promoting Turkeys membership. However, despite the elites strong interest in integrating the neighbouring East, the Austrian public leads the group of opponents of further enlargement, with 62 percent dismissing Macedonias accession, 73 percent being against Albanias integration, 59 percent being against Bosnia-Herzegovinas and 65 percent against Serbias

Information based on the Austrian Chamber of Commerce.


accession to the EU. Only Croatias accession seems to be rather undisputed. 55 percent have stated they would support Croatian membership.6 Only a few years ago, a majority had refused Croatias membership; however, the elites strong support for Croatia, particularly the support of conservative Catholic circles, has boosted positive views on this country. Even the far right Freedom Party seems to have fallen in line. The promise to hold a referendum on Turkeys accession was later adopted by the new coalition government, which was formed by the Social Democrats and the Peoples Party after the early elections held in fall 2006.7 The coalition agreement signed between the two parties formalised the foreign strategy to see the Balkans as the focus point of the countrys foreign and security policies and to promote negotiations with Croatia; it also stipulated the refusal for Turkish membership by paraphrasing it with the goal of supporting Turkish compliance with European values and standards and by championing a tailored union with Turkey, another way of saying privileged partnership.8 The coalition government under Chancellor Gusenbauer immediately proved its disapproval for Turkish membership when it took on a hardline position in December 2006, when Turkey refused to implement the protocol of the customs union to the Republic of Cyprus. Even though Austria acted together with France, Greece and Greek
See; Cengiz Gnay, Austrian Stakeholders in the EU-Turkey Debate, Natalie Tocci (ed.), Talking Turkey in Europe: Towards a Differentiated Communication Strategy, Quaderni IAI, December 2008, p. 68 7 The Social Democrats under Alfred Gusenbauer had surprisingly emerged victorious from these elections while the conservative Peoples Party lost around 8 percent in votes. 8 See; Margaretha Kopeinig, Regierung lehnt Trkei Beitritt ab, in Kurier 12 Jannuary 2007

Cypriots, the front broke apart, as the strategic interests of the four countries radically differed. While Austria saw this as an occasion to bring about the end of the negotiation process, Greece and Cyprus had an interest in its continuation. Meanwhile, in 2008 Austria again experienced early elections, when, after the Social Democrats U-turn in regard to EU policies, the former coalition government broke apart. A change in the leadership of the Social Democrats was accompanied by a rhetorical shift to a more critical stance against the EU. Observers commented on the partys tactical shift as another genuflexion before populism. As mentioned earlier, EU critical voices had gained ground after the negative Irish referendum on the Lisbon Treaty. More and more voices demanded for a similar referendum in Austria. In order to counter falling polls, the Social Democrats joined in the chorus and declared that henceforth all EU treaties which might affect or alter the Austrian constitution should be presented to the will of the people. Although the reiteration of the refusal of Turkish membership has become a tantra of the political mainstream except the Greens, who have been supporters of Turkish membership, though silent ones the issue itself has gradually lost momentum. One can even say that over the last four years the Turkish Question has gradually disappeared from the radar. Consequently, one can draw the conclusion that the announcement to hold a referendum has helped to cool down the over-heated debate, as it has postponed the issue by delegating it to the will of the people in a far future. Therefore, reporting on the issue, comments and op-eds dealing with the pros and cons have largely disappeared to such

an extent that on charts or maps dealing with EU-connected issues, Turkey is often hardly or even not at all listed as a candidate country. While reporting on the negotiation process and its progresses and setbacks has diminished, interest in Turkey, its domestic and foreign policies and its economic and regional role have strikingly increased. Although the previous debates on Turkish membership have boosted existing prejudices, preset images and perceptions of the Turks, Turkeys economic rise over the last years and the countrys growing importance as an energy hub have attracted further interest.

Austrian businesses expanding into Turkey While politicians have pursued a hardline position, Austrian companies have silently expanded into Turkey. The trade volume between the two countries grew between 2002 and 2008 at 60 percent. In 2006 alone, exports to Turkey grew by 14.4 percent. In 2008, exports from Austria reached a total of 965.9 million Euros, while imports from Turkey in the same year comprised 909.5 million Euros.9 Direct investment in Turkey has reached 1.2 billion USD, ranking Austria tenth among the biggest foreign investors in Turkey.10 While some of Austrias leading companies have already entered the Turkish market (Red Bull, Mayr Mellenhof, Magna, OMV, Verbund, BankAustria), small and (26.11.2009) 10 Hercher H. (2008) Trkei: Bei Investitionen spielt sterreich in der Superliga, Wirtschaftsblatt, 11 February.

middle sized companies have been more cautious.11 Not surprisingly, the Austrian Federation of Industry and Chambers of Commerce regard Turkey as an extremely important partner with much potential. In May 2008 the daily Standard reported, citing an anonymous businessman, that Austrias policy in regard to Turkish membership would complicate the businesses of Austrian companies in Turkey.12 Although the Austrian Federation of Industry has denied such effects, one can state that the rhetoric of Austrian politicians talking about Austrias hardline position has become softer, emphasising the consistency of Austrias position, contrasting it with that of other member countries, such as France, which have shifted from supporters to ardent opponents, and pointing to the fact that Austrias position was honest and that friendship would require honesty. In recent years, Austrias largest company, OMV, has defined Turkey as one of its major growth markets. The company acquired shares in Turkeys Petrol Ofisi, declaring that the company aims to extend its shares to 100 percent. OMV has also been building a power plant near Samsun and the company has also been leading the Nabucco pipeline project, the aim of which is to connect Central Europe with the gas fields of the Caspian Sea by crossing Turkey. While increasing business activities will certainly contribute to the improvement of bilateral relations, one can also say that strong public attention to Turkey has had a positive side-


Cengiz Gnay, Austrian Stakeholders in the EU-Turkey Debate, Natalie Tocci (ed.), Talking Turkey in Europe: Towards a Differentiated Communication Strategy, Quaderni IAI, December 2008, p. 79 12 Ibid, p. 78

effect. Extensive reporting on Turkey has generated a group of journalists specialised in Turkey or Turkey EU issues. Most of them have gained good knowledge about Turkish politics and its actors, as well as Turkeys social and historical background. But, probably most important, they have established information networks with Turkish colleagues, academics, politicians, diplomats and business circles. In turn, the quality of reporting on Turkey and related issues has certainly improved.13 The decoupling of the discourse on Turkey from that on the EU accession process has certainly improved the quality of the debate. This can also be stated about various conferences, seminars and workshops organised by the academia and think tanks and which have dealt with Turkey-related issues. While only a couple of years ago, any discussion on Turkey would have been highjacked by an emotional debate on arguments dealing with the dangers of Turkeys membership, often characterised by fear and anxiety, todays arguments, questions and comments are much more factual.

Conclusion One can conclude that the over-heated debate on Turkeys accession has cooled down since 2006. Although approval of Turkish membership has remained at a very low level, this does not mean that things cannot change particularly considering that interest in Turkey and its social, political, economic and cultural development has grown. The media has been reporting extensively on Turkey. Even rather special

Ibid, p. 80

domestic Turkish debates, such as that on the lifting of the head scarf ban in universities, have drawn the attention of the Austrian media. Radio stations, TV and newspapers reported in length on the issue. As the trade volume between the two countries has been constantly growing economic relations have only experienced a set-back in 2009, due to the current economic crisis business circles and companies can be regarded as potential lobbies for a change in the quality of the discourse on Turkey. This does not necessarily imply that business circles support Turkish membership. However, they might have an interest in a more balanced debate and a less hardline position of the government in the course of the negotiation process. Therefore, the cooling down of the debate created by the announcement of a future referendum should be perceived as a chance to improve perceptions.



Costas Melakopides* Greek Cypriot Perceptions

Introduction What Cyprus stands for differs radically depending on whether it is conceived by Turkey and the Turkish Cypriots (TCs) or by the Greek Cypriots (GCs) and the international community, including the European Union (EU). While the Republic of Cyprus is the internationally recognised state and a full EU Member State since 1 May 2004, Turkey refuses to recognise it. It recognises, however, the secessionist Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) which is recognised by no other state in the world. All of this results from Turkeys 1974 military intervention and the 1983 unilateral declaration of independence (UDI) by the secessionist regime. Turkeys problem, however, is that the international community - through such Organisations as the UN and the EC/EU, and its Courts, such as the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) and the Court of Justice of the European Communities - has treated the 1974 action as invasion, i.e., as an illegal intervention. It has also condemned the UDI as contrary to international law and cannot, therefore, recognise it. But Turkeys well-known geostrategic significance and other attributes of hard power have ingratiated it to such power-centres and powerformations as Washington, London and NATO, so that, instead of

The opinions expressed herein are only those of the author and do not reflect any institutional views.

convincing it to comply with the principles and norms of the global legal culture, they have tolerated its excessive ambitions. Now, the EU has supported Cyprus vis--vis Turkey: raising consistently the issue of the occupation of 37% of Cypriot territory; condemning immediately the 1983 UDI; rejecting Turkeys application for membership in 1989, in part because of the two aforementioned unlawful acts; finally, the EU accepted the entire Republic as a full member. For the GCs, however, this is insufficient: first, the gross violation of their, and the TCs, human rights has lasted for too long; and second, since Cypriot territory is under illegal occupation, it follows that EU territory suffers similarly. The GCs insist that they are eager to settle the Cyprus problem. They see their good will as demonstrable, in their extending friendship and material support to the TCs; in raising no obstacles to the start of Turkeys negotiations for EURO membership in either 2004 or 2005; and in their working to settle the problem fairly and functionally for the benefit of all legitimate Cypriots. Simultaneously, they perceive Turkeys intransigence as bad faith - in ignoring the international legal and ethical pronouncements - and as deriving from the arrogance of hard power, the ambition to become a regional superpower, and the exploitation of the occupation as leverage for eventual EU accession. Meanwhile, although the entire Republic became a full Member State, the presence of 40,000 Turkish occupation troops prevents the acquis communautaire from being applied to the occupied territory until the settlement of the countrys (legal/political/ethical) problem.

Numerous international initiatives to settle the notorious problem have failed. The last such initiative, known as the Annan plan, was accepted by the TCs and the thousands of (illegal) Turkish settlers in the TRNC; the GCs rejected it, as unfair and nonviable, by an overwhelming 76%.1 According to that plan, its rejection by either Cypriot community would render it null and void. And yet, those who worked for the plans endorsement primarily the UK, the US and Turkey- are at pains to revive it. All this explains why the GCs are experiencing anger and frustration caused by their intolerable condition. These sentiments are mitigated by the EU accession in 2004 and the EURO zone entry on 1 January 2008. However, neither these successes nor the accumulated ethical acquis intimated above as manifesting EU attachment to its principles and values - suffice to eradicate the Greek Cypriots sense of unbearable injustice. In September 2008, face-to-face negotiations began between President Demetris Christofias and TC leader Mehmet Ali Talat. Although the negotiations are full of enigmas, hence clouded in mystery, the Nicosia Government remained optimistic while many political actors are increasingly sceptical. Intriguingly, although the Republic holds through its veto - a decisive key to Turkeys EU trajectory, its post-2004 Governments have resisted its use. In tandem with Athens, and to avoid causing a serious intra-Community conflict, Nicosia has embraced the diplomatic style associated with the Unions non-conflictual principles and values, as the best road to reconciliation. This policy has not worked. However, under mounting pressure from public opinion,
See Costas Melakopides, Unfair Play: Cyprus, Turkey, Greece, the UK and the EU (Kingston, Canada: Queenss Centre for International Relations, 2006).

political elites, influential opinion-makers, and some prestigious academics, the Zeitgeist is currently being metamorphosed. Precisely because Turkey insists on mobilizing the full repertoire of its asymmetric hard power - including recent threats to use again military force vis--vis the reported hydrocarbons in Cyprus exclusive economic zone- the intellectual, analytical and political pressures are calling on Nicosia to stop using exclusively diplomatic carrots and to begin employing its political stick. In what follows, then, I will address Cypriot perceptions of, and intentions towards, Turkeys candidacy, in terms of (a) the Government, (b) the Opposition, (c) the media, and (d) civil society.

The Nicosia Government In December 2004, despite a mobilised body of (public and expert) opinion, Nicosia supported Turkeys accession negotiations. President Tassos Papadopoulos resisted the veto temptation so soon after Cyprus accession. By December 2005, there was renewed pressure to combat Turkeys continued obduracy, by such verbal actions as demanding the departure of the occupation troops from Cyprus/EU territory, the ending and reversal of illegal colonization, ceasing the sale of GC properties in the occupied area, etc. Many GCs were also inspired by the 21 September 2005 EU anti-declaration, which stressed that Ankaras unilateral declaration against the recognition of the Republic of Cyprus had no legal effect whatsoever; therefore, Turkey should open its airports and ports to Cypriot planes and vessels and normalize its relations with Nicosia.

Papadopoulos refusal to employ the veto followed from the Europeanization assumption, which Nicosia has shared with Greece. Recall that, in the 1999 Helsinki European Council, Athens performed a volte face: it stopped obstructing Turkeys candidacy due to the occupation of Cyprus, having concluded that dtente with Turkey -despite its ongoing challenge in the Aegean Sea- and Turkeys adoption of EU principles and values should eventually result in mutually beneficial bilateral cooperation and friendship, with concomitant positive implications for Cyprus. Throughout 2006, Nicosia entertained the aforementioned assumption, optimistic that principled and appropriate EU pressures would be applied effectively on Turkey: the Commission and primarily- the European Parliament were already urging Ankara to fulfil its legal and political obligations to Cyprus being, essentially, EU obligations. However, since all this proved ineffectual, the December 2006 European Council froze the negotiation of eight chapters, until Turkey complied, within three years, with the anti-declaration demands. Meanwhile, President Papadopoulos had falsified twice the accusations that he opposed reunification. With Koffi Anan he agreed (Paris, February 2006) to resume inter-communal negotiations after proper preparations; and, under the aegis of the UNs Ibrahim Gambari, Papadopoulos and Talat agreed to restart negotiations on a technical level. This July 8 (or Gambari) agreement was never implemented, despite the late Presidents valiant efforts. The point, however, is that the July 8 agreement verified Nicosias good will, even though Papadopoulos argued that, deontologically, Cypriot negotiations should be held between Nicosia and Ankara.

Regrettably, the inter-communal atmosphere was being poisoned further by the never-ending building of homes and hotels on occupied GC properties and by the steady arrival of thousands of illegal settlers. In 2001, the illegal settlers were about 120,000.2 Since the 2004 referendum, they exceed 200,000 while the indigenous TCs reportedly number below 85,000. Therefore, the GCs exasperation kept growing, since these actions were coupled with Ankaras supercilious rhetoric about Cyprus two states, two governments, and two peoples, in total disregard of the global and EU legal and ethical consensus. During the February 2008 presidential election, Tassos Papadopoulos, passionately opposed for years by all those fastening on the Annan plan, was defeated by left-wing leader, Demitris Christofias, who promised to settle the Cyprus problem once and for all: because he possessed the solution which was attainable with his friend and comrade, Mr Talat. Thus, as the new rhetoric emphasised settlement for the Cypriots by the Cypriots, references to Turkeys EU prospects were essentially limited to the entrenched stereotype, Turkeys road to the EU passes through Nicosia, while the Europeanization assumption seemed to survive implicitly. Moreover, when asked about a plan B should the inter-communal negotiations fail, President Christofias was adamant: there is no plan B, evidently meaning that, since the negotiations were bound to succeed, no room for pessimism existed.

See Council of Europe, Parliamentary Assembly, Colonisation by Turkish settlers of the occupied part of Cyprus, Doc.9799, 2 May 2003, Rapporteur Mr Jaakko Laakso (Finland), p.2.

But pessimism soon began to sink in. Political elites and commentators started lamenting that, contrary to initial assurances, the two negotiating sides did not share fully either the rules of the game or the meaning of even fundamental terms. Moreover, public opinion was becoming deeply sceptical about the novel made in Britain slogan by the Cypriots, etc. First, they could detect that, behind Talats proposals, the null and void Annan plan stubbornly kept raising its head. Second, the TC sides proposals implied a Confederative structure, as opposed to the Federation agreed upon for years. And third, Mr Talat kept admitting his dependence on a constant dialogue with Ankara. And yet, the Christofias government insisted that the process was on the right track. Near the end of 2008, however, when Mr Talats spokesperson asked Mr Christofias to please avoid calling Talat his comrade, one of Christofias major weapons was rendered outdated. Thereupon, he was forced to utter the obvious: the solution to our problem lies with Ankara! This telling episode occasioned intensified calls, by most domestic political actors, to start preparing for a plan B in view of December 2009. Noteworthy statements were made during Kostas Karamanlis official visit to Nicosia, in April 2009. In a joint press conference, Karamanlis reiterated his favourite dictum on Turkeys accession: Full compliance, full membership. Christofias then declared: Cyprus, like Greece, supports Turkeys accession prospects, which, under certain conditions, can function as a motive for Ankara to cooperate for a fair, viable and functional solutionOf course, the first and foremost precondition for the smooth continuation of Turkeys movement towards accession is

the fulfilment of its obligations towards both the EU and the Republic of Cyprus, something that, unfortunately, it has not done as yet.3 Christofias and Karamanlis jointly stressed that the Cyprus problem entails an inevitable European dimension; that, consequently, the EU has a decisive role here to play; that the EU constitutes a solid guarantee for Cyprus; therefore, there is no reason to talk, like Turkey, about its guarantees, which, being contrary to EU principles, are now obsolete. Finally, President Christofias added that there is certainly need for a lot of patience, for cool-headedness, to face the challenges, not by begging` anyone, but by denouncing Turkeys behaviour.4 With the 6 June 2009 Euro-elections approaching, the Government was obliged to face Turkeys EU candidacy directly. Political forces competed on platforms that contained little Europe and a lot about Cyprus existential problem owing to the occupation. As regards governing AKELs two elected MEPs, Kyriakos Triantaphylides included Turkeys accession among the broader topics of concern, and promised to continue following Turkeys accession trajectory through the European Parliament Reports.5 The usually soft-spoken new left-wing MEP, Takis Hatzigeorgiou, declared that the first goal of all Cypriot MEPs is independently of our political origins, and in full cooperation with the Government, to raise as many obstacles as we can against

3 4

Simerini (Nicosia daily), 23 April 2009, p.7. Ibid. 5 Simerini, 9 June 2009, p.8

Turkey, if it does not demonstrate its will to settle the Cyprus problem.6 A week later, Mr Christofias was interviewed by Nicosias leading daily, Phileleftheros. His clarifications on the negotiations did not provide any news, until asked whether there is a plan B` in case of a deadlock. He replied: When I say that we will examine with the Greek Government and the [Cypriot] political parties all the scenarios, what do I mean? [This is what I mean] without saying that we have a plan B.7 Finally, on the day of Jose Manuel Barrosos official visit to Cyprus, Secretary General of AKEL, Andros Kyprianou, made two noteworthy points at the Cyprus Broadcasting Corporation (CyBC) regarding Turkeys December evaluation: first, that AKEL had embarked on a studying the issue and would soon submit its conclusions to the President. And second, Cyprus will support Turkeys progress towards accession under preconditions, but raising difficulties on the way.8 After the inevitable Summer hiatus, pessimism concerning the inter-communal negotiations kept rising. Hence, rising also was Demetris Christofias irritation at the posture of both Ankara and his former comrade, Mr Talat. Thus, during his speech to the UN General Assembly, on 24 September 2009, President Christofias emphasised three paradoxes: first, that Turkey, a non-permanent Member of the UN Security Council today, does not recognise one of the members of the UN and the
Ibid, emphasis added. Interviews with Androula Taramounda and Costas Venizelos, Phileleftheros, 14 June 2009, emphasis added. 8 Interview with Paris Potamitis, Extensions`, CyBC, 25 June 2009.
7 6


EU; second, the same UNSC member retains occupation troops in another UN/EU member; and third, Turkey is violating the territorial integrity of Cyprus aiming at the creation of another state on the island, in clear violation of UNSC resolutions 541 and 550. And yet, Christofias reiterated that the Republic of Cyprus supports Turkeys accession to the EU, convinced that the whole process, like its accession, will help our neighbours and will be beneficial both to our region and ourselves.9 He added, however, Nicosias other stereotype: This support, however, is not without conditions: Turkey must fulfil its obligations towards both the Republic of Cyprus and the EU. 10 A month later, during newly elected George Papandreous official visit to Nicosia, Papandreou and Christofias re-emphasised the long-standing position of Athens and Nicosia in support of eventual Turkish accessionprovided that Turkey fulfils the established requirements for all. To be sure, George Papandreou - in a rare emulation of his late father, Andreas defined the Cyprus Question, in his address to the Cypriot Parliament, as a problem of invasion and occupation. He also insisted that Athens will stand by Nicosia in every sense. But then he also referred to a new road map for Turkey, leaving unclear whether this should operate before or after December 2009. Finally, President Christofias and Foreign Minister Marcos Kyprianou kept reaffirming in October 2009 what the

9 10

Phileleftheros, 25 September 2009. Ibid.


latest National Council had decided unanimously:11 given Turkeys never-ending disregard of its EU-imposed obligations, Turkey should not be unscathed` in December 2009.

The Opposition The meaning of (political) Opposition in current Cypriot politics resists precision. The Government of AKEL-originating President Christofias is supported in domestic matters by both centrist DIKO and centre-left EDEK and, frequently, by the Cypriot Greens. On the Cyprus problem, however, the Government enjoys the occasional support of centre-right -and EPP memberDYSI. Therefore, this leaves the European Party (EVROKO) as the only persistent -nominal and substantial- Opposition. And yet, during the current inter-communal negotiations, DIKO, EDEK and the Ecologists have frequently criticised openly Christofias handling of the Republics interests. In particular, they have attacked two extreme concessions made at the outset without Talats reciprocation: to offer 50,000 (illegal) settlers in the envisaged Federal Republic and a rotating presidency. Moreover, they are concerned about the fogginess of the negotiating procedures; the limited information supplied at the National Council; and the partiality of the technical committees members assisting the negotiations. Essentially, then, President Christofias who favoured initially the


All parliamentary political parties participate in this Council to discuss the Cyprus problem.

Annan plan- is suspected as disinclined to reject embodying Annanite elements. EDEKs President, Yiannakis Omerou, and its Honorary President, Vassos Lyssarides, are among the leading elites long flirting with a Cypriot veto next December. Last April, Mr Omerou, arguing against removing the Damoclian sword from Turkeys head, stated: Vetoes are not announced in advance, just as the intention not to exercise them is not pre-announced.12 These EDEK personalities are joined by EVROKO leaders, Demitris Sylouris and Nikos Koutsou, who criticize Christofias for his soft negotiating line, instead of claiming forcefully the Republics rights in the EU. In addition, DIKOs Parliamentary Spokesperson, Andreas Angelides, has long been arguing for the need to claim Cyprus rights. Similar notions and associated arguments are employed by three other leading DIKO personalities: Parliament President Marios Karoyan; DIKOs Alternate President, Giorgos Kolokasides; and Vice-President, Nikolas Papadopoulos (son of the late Tassos). For months, all these figures, joined also by Ecologist MP, Giorgos Perdikis, and new Ecologist leader, Ioanna Panayiotou, exhibit a consistent fighting spirit. They assert or clearly imply that Cyprus should be heard in the EU fora as the victim of the 1974 invasion and the consequent illegal occupation and should, therefore, deploy all its diplomatic weapons and political alliances to confront Turkey.


Phileleftheros, 24 April 2009.


The Media Most of the Press in the government-controlled part of the Republic is not ideologically biased or intimately linked to political parties. Except for Haravgi, AKELs official organ, and Alithia (supporting DYSI), the leading Nicosia dailies, Phileleftheros and Simerini, are clearly independent. Hence they assumed a hands-off stance vis--vis the left-wing Christofias Government, for about 100 days. Progressively, however, they declare their views even in clear opposition. For instance, commenting on the first day of Karamanlis official visit, the Phileleftheros editorial concluded: We need a Plan B for EuroTurkish issues (23 April 2009). The next days editorial entitled The Veto is not Advertised- argued: An important weapon [the veto], which protects the interests of the small and the weak, remains in our armoury and must be utilised. We want to believe that the adopted tactics will not allow Turkey to evade in the end its obligations. Phileleftheros and Simerini are outspoken whenever they sense the Presidents softness towards Talat or when they see Talats and Ankaras verbal or nonverbal actions as falling under the categories intransigent, threatening, or provocative. Through their editorials and major columnists, they have condemned vociferously Mr Gl, Mr Erdogan, and Mr Davutoglu, whenever they mention two nations, two governments, and two states in Cyprus. Similarly, they were incensed by the Turkish militarys muscle-flexing concerning Cyprus explorations for hydrocarbons. They regularly give prominence to all serious statements against Turkish intransigence, including declarations

favouring Turkeys less-than-full EU membership, by Angela Merkel and Nicolas Sarkozy. And most of their columnists echo their editorials tone: this is particularly the stance of leading Simerini columnists, Savvas Iakovides and Lazaros Mavros, who are long committed to a Cypriot veto next December. Turning to TV and Radio, state-run CyBC is struggling to maintain objectivity on the national problem, its journalists also playing a pedagogical role. Run by mature journalists, most of its political programmes aim at balance, both regarding invitees and their treatment. And yet, since Christofias ascent to power, sceptical viewers have left the CyBC Evening News, opting instead for the more critical ANT1 TV or Sigma. Finally, it seems that Lazaros Mavros dynamic Morning Radio Show, in Radio Proto, has a constantly increasing following. Mr Mavros regularly assisted by the gifted Brussels correspondent Dr Yiannos Charalambides - is a bold critic of Turkeys Cyprus policy. Hence, I anticipate his strong call for a December veto, unless, of course, Ankara surprises the Republic with a brilliant volte face.

Civil Society Cypriot civil societys vitality is credited primarily to the EU accession, except for actors dealing with the Cyprus problem. Concentrating on support for the Annan plan, many peace groups and NGOs embracing track-two diplomacy were cultivating inter-communal rapprochement long before that plan, and were especially active in the campaign to accept it. Assisted ideologically and financially by foreign centres, such as UNDP

and Norways PRIO, and clearly supported morally by the US Embassy and the British High Commission, they helped the Yes side reach 24% in the 2004 referendum. Currently, however, they keep a low profile, presumably gearing for the time when all Cypriots will confront whatever the negotiations proffer. Simultaneously, numerous civilians formed activist units criticising the Annan plan and maintained the final opposition to just below 80%. Among them, one observed lawyers, politicians, journalists, youth leaders, and academics, who organised popular gatherings in December 2004 under the slogan, Veto is a Political Option. Many of them formed The Committee for a European Solution in Cyprus which, inter alia, created An International Expert Panel that criticised thoroughly the Annan plan and offered rational alternatives.13 Now, many of that Committees leading figures, and additional persons, have banded together to oppose any return of Annanite hybrids. Other activists have also coalesced, questioning the wisdom of a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation and fearing it entails the loss of Cypriot Hellenism. Finally, three Cypriot political scientists replied to our cardinal question (edited here only for length). Dr Maria Hatzipavlou (University of Cyprus) wrote: Officially, Nicosia has been favouring [Turkeys accession]; personally I agree, assuming that, if Turkey complies with the European laws and principles, it will have [inter alia] to withdraw its 40,000 Turkish troops Turkish accession will also help find an accommodation to the protracted Cyprus conflict as well as settling many internal Turkish

See Costas Melakopides, et al. (eds.) The Cyprus Yearbook of International Relations 2006, pp. 206-218.

disputes[Accession] will also lead to regional stability. Turkey is a neighbouring country to Greece and Cyprus which all share common interestsand it is important that all three, being in the EU, will give impetus to collaboration and peaceful relations at different levels: political, trade, educational and cultural. This will set an example of co-existenceand thus implement in practice the European value of union in diversity. Professor Kyriakos Demetriou (University of Cyprus) replied: On the assumption that Turkey will comply with the established EU principles, values, and norms, I favour Turkeys eventual accession to the Union. However, should Turkey abstain from a substantial demonstration of good will such as beginning to withdraw its troops and colonists before December 2009 - I believe that Nicosia should reject the opening of any new chapter in Turkey-EU negotiations. Needless to say, Turkey should also demonstrate domestically its willingness to conform to EU values and norms. Last, Lecturer Giorgos Kentas (University of Nicosia), wrote: It seems that Turkey is interested in joining the European Union on the basis of some special conditions that suit its uniquenessIt appears ready to follow the path of Europeanization on its own terms. If accepted, this will be a travesty of the EUs principles and standards Ankara contends that it has fulfilled all its obligations in Cyprus by supporting the Annan Plan. This, of course, is unacceptable to the EU[U]nless Turkey fulfills its obligations up until December 2009, the EU will take a new decision. In my view, the new decision must provide for the provisional suspension of negotiations for a period of six

months (until June 2010). This will be a period of reflection for reexamining Turkeys progress and deciding the steps forward.

Conclusion In recent months, more and more Cypriot voices were calling for governmental, political, diplomatic, and societal assertiveness. Ankaras increasingly arrogant mood, current TC developments, the absence of TC reciprocation to Christofias generous offers, and the Turkish militarys threats, poisoned the atmosphere surrounding the Cypriot negotiations. And yet, any rational and open-minded initiatives by Turkey such as starting to withdraw its troops and the thousands of illegal colonists - and the fulfilment of the legal obligations deriving from the antideclaration can metamorphose the inter-communal climate. The GCs, just like the Greeks of mainland Greece, have long been eager to embark on a new phase of trilateral relations with Turkey, to attain cooperation and friendship. If, however, Turkey does not reciprocate, most Greek Cypriot political forces in tandem with the media and civil society could compel the Christofias Government to start raising many (effective) obstacles against Turkey in December 2009.



Petr Kratochvl, Drailov* Czech Perceptions





The article explores the political and societal discourses in the Czech Republic that pertain to Turkeys EU membership. While most political parties express their lukewarm support for the accession, the topic certainly does not constitute an important part of their foreign policy agenda. The issue is also only seldom discussed in the media or in the academia. Czech citizens, even though more than forty percent of them support the enlargement, have a low level of knowledge about Turkey and their indifference directly reflects the absent deliberation about the issue in the society at large.

Introduction: the Four Limitations of the Discourse and Their Corollaries The Czech debate about the Turkish membership in the EU is limited in four ways. First, after 2004, the Czech Republic became one of the few EU member states that are surrounded by other EU members only (i.e. that have no sea border). The geographic location exerts considerable influence on Czech
The opinions expressed herein are only those of the author and do not reflect any institutional views.

discussions about further enlargement since it is often portrayed as geographically distant, with little direct impact on the lives of Czech citizens. This applies equally to the Czech attitude towards Eastern Europe (which is geographically still closer than Turkey) and the Balkans. Second, the geographic distance from membership candidates, including Turkey, is complemented by the limited historical experience with Turkey. Even though the Czech Lands were part of the Austrian Empire at the time of the Ottoman expansion into Central Europe, the territory of the current Czech Republic has never been part of the Ottoman Empire. Hence, unlike in the case of Hungary or Austria, not to mention the Balkans, there are no historical stereotypes or prejudices worth mentioning in the case of Turkey. Third, it is not only the lack of historical contacts, but also the absence of Turkish migrants in the country that sets the Czech Republic apart from other countries from the same region that have sizeable Turkish minorities (Germany, Austria, etc.).1 In addition, the common (if flawed) conflation of the Turkish minority with Muslims in general that is often used by the opponents of the Turkish EU membership has a rather limited potential in the Czech Republic since the numbers of Muslims residing in the country are nigh negligible. Fourth, the discussions about Turkey are usually seen as part of the larger enlargement debate. Yet this debate pertains to

Turks do not even appear on the list of the eighteen most numerous ethnic groups living in the Czech Republic. Cf. the data of the Czech Statistical Office at

countries like Ukraine or Serbia, which play a much bigger role in the minds of ordinary Czechs. This is the case due to a number of factors, including a common (Communist) past, geographical proximity or as in the case of Croatia huge numbers of Czech tourists visiting these countries. As Czechs are very much in favour of the Croatian membership and they generally count as supporters of further enlargement to Eastern Europe, the possible negative attitudes toward Turkeys accession may be hidden behind the general acceptance of further enlargement. This state of affairs has two significant consequences which heavily impact the Czech debate on the Turkish accession. The first is that since the debate is not really widespread among the populace, it stays only at the level of high politics, with an occasional spill-over into the academia. As a consequence, it is virtually impossible to find any consistent and detailed coverage of issues regarding EU-Turkey relations either in the media or in the civil society. The second corollary pertains to the originality of arguments used in the debate. As we noted above, there are no signs of a deeper societal deliberation on the issue, which also translates into the dependence on the arguments used by external sources. This can be nicely shown by analysing the only visible campaign against the Turkish membership in the Czech Republic. The campaign, launched in the summer of 2005, was not organised locally, but by an international initiative called Voice for Europe, and its aim was to collect signatures of those who generally oppose the Turkish accession and, more specifically, reject the start of


accession negotiations with Turkey.2 Josef Zeleniec (EPP), one of the most vocal Czech opponents of Turkey in the EU, and a member of the European Parliament, immediately expressed his support for the initiative.3 The lukewarm attitudes to the Turkish accession are also reflected in the results of public opinion polls. The number of opponents among the citizens of the Czech Republic seems to be fairly constant from 51 % in the Spring 2005 Eurobarometer poll to 49 % three years later.4 According to Eurobarometer, the number of those who are in favour of Turkey in the EU has been slowly rising to the current 43 %.5 Even though the polls do not explore the relative relevance of the question to the interviewees or ascertain the level of knowledge the respondents have about the issue, some indication is the decline from 12 to 8 percent of those who do not have any opinion about the question.6

Kampa proti vstupu Turecka do Evropsk unie [online]. Econnect, 23.8.2005 [cit. 2009-05-30]. Available from www:< > 3 Voice for Europe v Bruselu proti vstupu Turecka do EU [online]. 2005 [cit. 2009-05-30]. Available from www:<,det > The initiative stopped working (its original website does not exist anymore). 4 Eurobarometr 63,4 [online]. Jaro 2005 [cit. 2009-05-30]. Available from www:< >; Eurobarometer 69 [online]. March-May 2008 [cit. 2009-05-30]. Available from www:< _en.pdf>. 5 Ibid. 6 At the end of May 2009, a national poll conducted by a local polling agency that does not allow for the no opinion answer came up with somewhat different results, with a larger majority (62 percent) against the Turkish accession. Cf.

Political Parties Regarding the Czech political scene, the issue of the Turkish membership was sometimes mentioned in the context of the Czech EU Presidency, for instance when negotiations on the chapter on taxation were opened in June 2009. Due to the unexpected upheavals in the domestic politics in April 2009 and the following creation of the caretaker government, it is not possible to divide our analysis into a discussion of the opinions of the government and the opposition. Therefore, we will focus on the positions of the individual political parties and actors. The Civic Democratic Party (ODS) is probably the parliamentary party that is consistently the most favourably disposed towards the Turkish accession. The arguments concerning Turkey can be summarised as follows. Firstly, the ODS, as the party that generally opposes further European integration, sees the Turkish membership as a chance to decelerate this process. Secondly, the ODS argues that the accession negotiations may require reforms on both sides, which means that within the EU this may include the reform of the agricultural and regional policy for which the Civic Democrats are calling. Thirdly, the ODS refuses the idea of the EU as a Christian club and proposes the EUs deeper involvement in the Muslim world. In this context, the accession of Turkey can be seen as the first step towards better ties with the Muslim countries.7 Finally, the Civic Democratic Party is strongly Atlanticist, and therefore the support of the Turkish European bid not only by the former US President
Krl, D. esk debata o perspektivch lenstv Turecka a Ukrajiny v EU, EUROPEUM, 2006. Available from www:<>.

George W. Bush but recently also by the current US President Barack Obama may represent an important argument in shaping the policy towards Turkey. Nevertheless, the ODS stresses the need for continuity in Turkeys reform process as well as the strict adherence to the Copenhagen criteria. Among the most active participants in the debate are party members Jan Zahradil, Mirek Topolnek and Miroslav Ouzk.8 Especially Jan Zahradil is known for his efforts in promoting the issue of the Turkish membership. Zahradil, who strongly opposes the concept of the privileged partnership, assumes that the Czech Republic, due to its lack of a Turkish minority and absence of past conflicts with Turkey, may serve as a mediator for the Turkish European aspirations.9 In 2008 during his official visit to Ankara, Mirek Topolnek described the relations between the Czech Republic and Turkey as friendly and above standard, adding that the Czech Republic supports a full membership for Turkey10 and fosters the opening of new chapters of the acquis during the Czech Presidency. On the other end of the spectrum, the Christian and Democratic Union-Czechoslovak Peoples Party (KDU-SL) is the parliamentary party with the most critical attitude towards the Turkish accession. However, its stance can be rather defined as
Mirek Topolnek, chairman of ODS, served as Prime Minister from August 2006 until May 2009. Jan Zahradil and Miroslav Ouzk are members of the European Parliament. 9 esk republika podporuje vstup Turecka do Evropsk unie [online]. CT24, 15.11.2007 [cit. 2009-05-30]. Available from www:<>. 10 Premir M. Topolnek v tureck Ankae podpoil vstup Turecka do Evropsk unie [online]. Vlda R, 8.10.2008 [cit. 2009-05-30]. Available from www:<>.

reserved than as a complete refusal. The position of KDU-SL is inspired by the perspective of other Christian and Democratic parties within the EU, especially that of the German CDU/CSU. Although KDU-SL acknowledges the importance of Turkey for Europe, its members prefer other forms of cooperation with it than the full Turkish membership, which they believe is inconsistent with the fundamental nature of the EU. The debate concerning the Turkish European bid includes several arguments. First, Turkey is not seen as European in the cultural and social sense. Second, so the argument goes, the accession of a Muslim country might lead towards a change of the identity of the Union as a community based on Christian values. Third, Turkey still does not fulfil the Copenhagen criteria and its low level of protection of human rights is criticised. Finally, it is believed that the fragile balance within the EU would be disturbed by the presence of another big member state.11 However, in 2005 a prominent member of the party, Cyril Svoboda , stated in his answer to a critical article13 by Josef Zieleniec14 that the accession negotiations were an open process with uncertain results, which may not necessarily lead to a full membership for Turkey.15 Other Christian Democrat politicians active in the discussion are the MEPs Jan Bezina and Zuzana
11 12

Krl 2006. Cyril Svoboda is chairman of KDU-SL, former Minister for Regional Development and former Minister of Foreign Affaires. 13 Published in Prvo on 1.9.2005. 14 Former member of the European Parliament. 15 EU potebuje impuls v podob Turecka [online]. 10.9.2005 [cit. 2009-05-30]. Available from www:< 3&Itemid=49>.

Roithov (both EPP).16 Both of them opposed the opening of the accession negotiations. The Green Party (SZ) supports the integration of Turkey into the EU17, but on the whole, the partys participation in the debate over the issue of the Turkish accession is rather limited. However, the Green Partys envoy and former Minister of Foreign Affairs Karel Schwarzenberg made several statements on this matter. Schwarzenberg doesnt recognise the problem of the nonEuropean identity of Turkey, and according to him Turkey has much in common with Europe thanks to its Byzantine heritage.18 In January 2009 Schwarzenberg reaffirmed his support for the Turkish accession and highlighted its strategic importance.19 On a more cautious note, Schwarzenberg stressed that the reforms in Turkey needed new impulses in April 2009 and urged Turkish representatives to continue with the reform policy.20 The Czech Social Democratic Party (SSD), which is one of the two major elements in the Czech party system (the other one being the ODS), is also supportive regarding the accession of Turkey; this support can be partly explained by the strategy
Miroslav Kalousek, former chairman of KDU-SL, served as Minister of Finances until May 2009. Roman Lnek is former vice-chairman of KDU-SL. Jan Bezina and Zuzana Roithov are members of the European Parliament. 17 Berdych, A. Nekvapil, V. esk zahranin politika a volby 2006, AMO, 2006, p. 30. 18 Tureck advokt [online]. 26.11.2007 [cit. 2009-05-25]. Available from www:<>. 19 Schwarzenberg: Turecko mus kvli piblen k EU urychlit reformy [online]. 22.4.2009 [cit. 2009-05-25]. Available from www:<>. 20 Klaus: Podporuji vstup Turecka do EU [online]. 30.4.2009 [cit. 2009-06-25]. Euroscop. Available from www:<>.

adopted by the European Social Democratic parties, which stresses the need for stability and prosperity within Europe and the necessity of the consolidation of the democratic character of Turkey. However, Social Democrats see a potential problem in the fact that an accession of a large, mostly agricultural country can slow down the integration process and also radically change the institutional balance in the EU.21 One of the first politicians from the Czech Social Democratic Party to express his views about the Turkish membership was Vladimr pidla, who, already in 2003, claimed that the Czech Republic agrees with the Turkish European bid. Later, pidla articulated his anxiety about the potential Orientalization of Turkey in the context of the non-opening of the accession negotiations. The favourable attitude towards the Turkish membership is shared by other prominent Social Democrats, such as Stanislav Gross and Ji Paroubek.22 The Communist Party of Bohemia and Moravia (KSM) doesnt contribute often to the debate over the Turkish membership in the EU. Nevertheless, all representatives of KSM in the European Parliament were supporting the opening of the negotiations process, which implies that the party has a favourable stance in regard to this issue.23 Among other important political actors who may influence the debate over the Turkish membership is President Vclav Klaus, who is supportive of the accession as well. After the
21 22

Krl 2006. Ibid. 23 Ibid.


April 2009 meeting with the Turkish president Abdullah Gl, Klaus again confirmed this view. Being strongly Eurosceptical, Klaus considered the opening and closing of the chapters as a mere game of the bureaucrats and as not related to the real Turkish achievements.24

Civil Society and Research Institutions Regarding civil society and research institutions, it is only a handful of think-tanks that have dedicated some attention to the issue. Among those which are more or less supportive of the Turkish accession, the most visible is Europeum25, whose members have written several articles and studies analysing the pros and cons of the Turkish EU membership.26 Also, Europeum is the only think-tank in the country that produced a comprehensive report on the Czech debate about Turkey in the EU.27 Even though the report was released in 2006, large parts of it are still topical. In addition, Europeum is probably the only think-tank to publish in Czech an article by a Turkish author, Seda Domani.28 The article forcefully put forward the original argument that the main problem lies in the fact that both sides (the EU and Turkey) believe that the
Klaus: Podporuji vstup Turecka do EU [online]. The full name is Europeum, the Institute of European Policy, 26 See, for instance, the article written by Luk Pachta: =43. 27 Krl, D. esk debata o perspektivch lenstv Turecka a Ukrajiny v EU, EUROPEUM, 2006. Available from www:<>. 28 Domani, S. Vstup Turecka do Evropsk unie: Vhodn pro ob strany? Mon pro ob strany? EUROPEUM, 2006. Available from www:< >.
25 24


accession of Turkey would be more advantageous for the other side, claiming that in 2006, only one third of Turks and one fifth of EU citizens believed that the accession would be mutually beneficial. Regarding other think-tanks and research institutions, some attention to Turkey can be detected in the Association of International Affairs, where several analysts focus on the country and the region,29 and in the Institute of International Relations.30 The most widely read journal about international relations published in the country, Mezinrodn politika (International Politics), released a special issue on Turkey at the crossroads in September 2007. Although the focus of the issue was not exclusively on EU-Turkish relations, there were allusions to this problematique scattered throughout the whole issue. In particular, two polemical articles on Turkeys EU entry were published, an approving one by the well-known Czech journalist Zbynk Petrek, and a more critical one by the conservative thinker Alexandr Tomsk.31 One article on the issue also appeared in EPolis, the political science journal of the Czech-Slovak Political Science Students Union in Pilsen.32 31 Petrek, Z. Turecko na evropsk cest, Mezinrodn politika, 9/2007, 20-21. Available from www:< upload/MP/MPArchive/2007/MP092007.cel%E9.pdf >; Tomsk, A. Turecko do Evropy nepat, Mezinrodn politika, 9/2007, 20-21. Available from www:< upload/MP/MPArchive/2007/MP092007.cel%E9.pdf >. 32 Mareov, S. Cesta Turecka do EU - problematika vstupu [online]., 6. erven 2008. [cit. 2009-06-15]. Available from www:<>.



As far as civil society is concerned, deliberations about Turkey are scarce indeed. One exception is the European Values NGO. While being in favour of deeper integration, the NGO is critical of Turkeys entry and lobbies for a special partnership rather than a full-fledged membership for it. The organisation also joined the above described campaign against the launch of EU accession negotiations for Turkey.

Media Among the printed media, only the countrys four serious newspapers (Mlad fronta Dnes, Prvo, Hospodsk noviny, and Lidov noviny) offer a continuous coverage of the issue. All of these focus primarily on reporting news about Turkey and the EU, and analytical reports or commentaries on this issue are not common. Virtually none of the related articles pertain to Czech domestic issues. If we leave aside the space that is given to views of Czech politicians (which we have discussed above), there are only two persistent connections between the Czech Republic and the Turkish accession in the Czech media: (1) news about the latest EU-wide opinion polls, which also include the attitudes of the Czech populace towards the Turkish entry, and recently also (2) the role the Czech EU Presidency could play in fostering EUTurkish relations. The articles related to EU-Turkish relations usually fall into one of three broad categories.33 First, there are a lot of reports

The same categories and topics are also present on the main radio stations and TV channels. However, in particular on the Czech Radio, more space is given to

about the progress in accession negotiations, chapters being opened or blocked, the assessment reports by the European Commission or the criticism levelled against Turkey in some areas, notably human rights and protection of minorities. However, these articles usually do not give any opinion and instead limit themselves to reporting the events. Second, many articles describe specific bilateral relations that also influence the individual countries' relations to the EU as a whole. For instance, much attention is given to the insistence of the United States that Turkey should be accepted to the EU since it is a reliable ally of the West in NATO.34 The complementary side is described in those articles that deal with other countries scepticism towards the Turkish membership, most notably that of France. Interestingly, there seems to be a tendency to use a simplified dichotomy of the United States and France as the two poles representing opposite views on Turkeys EU aspirations, with the Czech Republic taking up the middle ground. Also, the vocal role of France, and in particular its President Sarkozy, is sometimes seen as too critical hence, there are articles discussing how France disagrees with the European Commission or how it punished the Swedish EU Presidency for being too positive in its attitudes to Turkey.35 Another example of this kind is that of the relations of Turkey and Greece or Turkey and Cyprus. Sometimes
the views of Czech politicians (particularly the Prime Minister, the Foreign Minister, and the current and former presidents). 34 Stn summitu: tureck lenstv v EU [online]. 5.4.2009 [cit. 2009-06-16]. Available from www:< >. 35 Sarkozy zdraznil: Turecko v EU nechci [online]. 24.5.2007 [cit. 2009-0616]. Available from www:<>.

the articles discuss the history of Greek-Turkish and CypriotTurkish relations, and in other cases they analyse the Turkish efforts to decouple these from the EU accession.36 The third category covers specific issues: One example is the role Turkey plays in safeguarding EU energy security (the Nabucco pipeline)37; another is the importance Turkey attaches to visa facilitation or even the introduction of a visa-free regime38; sometimes the geostrategic position of Turkey in the wider Middle East and its impact on the EU are discussed as well.

Conclusion The overall impression from our analysis might evoke a mild optimism regarding the Czech attitudes toward Turkey. However, we believe that some factors curbing this optimism should be mentioned. No matter how supportive of Turkeys membership the biggest political parties are, they are typically not interested in Turkey per se, but rather in some hidden agendas of their own. First, the Civic Democrats, for instance, see the ongoing enlargement process as the best safeguard against deeper political
EU potrestala Turecko za jeho postoj vi Kypru [online]. 29.6.2006 [cit. 2009-06-16]. Available from www:< >. 37 See, for instance, Turecko kvlo na plynovod Nabucco, Evropa sn zvislost na Rusku [online].8.5.2009 [cit. 2009-06-16]. Available from www:< >. 38 Cf. Ale hlavn zrute ta vza [online]. 10.12.2008 [cit. 2009-0616] Available from www:< &mes=081210_0>.

integration. Second, the Czech parties do not have strong opinions about these issues, which means that they often mechanically adopt arguments from their sister parties in the EU. Third, if the costs of the Turkish membership become more visible (for instance, the shift of the Czech Republic from being a member of the group of net recipients of EU funds to being a net payer), the resistance both within the society and in the parties may increase. The uncertain political situation coupled with the low relevance of Turkey for Czech foreign policy may bring a substantial change at any time.



Adam Szymaski* Polish Perceptions

Abstract The EU membership of Turkey is not a top issue in the public debate in Poland. However, it is still possible to outline the general position of the main participants of the debate on this question. This contrubution includes the attitude of the Polish government and president, political parties, society and media in 2006-2009 period as well as determinants of their position. It is argued that although Poland is generally in favour of the Turkish accession as a result of the support for the whole process of EU enlargement, both elites and society are divided on the EU membership of Turkey. Moreover, their attitudes do not have to be invariable, and can be influenced even by single incidents.

General Determinants of the Polish Position The new EU enlargement strategy, developed in 20061, has not changed the principles of the Polish policy towards EU
The opinions expressed herein are only those of the author and do not reflect any institutional views. 1 Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council. EU Enlargement Strategy and Main Challenges 2006-2007 (Including Annexed Special Report on the EUs Capacity to Integrate New Members), Brussels, 8 November 2006, Com (2006) 649, y_paper_en.pdf

enlargement, which seems to be the main determinant of Polands position on the Turkish accession. As it was before 2006, Poland supported throughout the period of the development of the new strategy a continuity of the process and the open door policy. Minister of Foreign Affairs Stefan Meller had already stated in January 2006 that EU enlargement is indispensable and we accept all candidacies ().2 However, the Polish authorities support to a different degree the European aspirations of individual countries. The EU enlargement eastwards is still the priority and the strategic goal is the EU accession of Ukraine.3 The admission of so-called official and potential candidate countries (Turkey, West Balkan states) is also supported by the Polish political elites. This stems from the recognition of openness as Europes main rule, but it also (if not first of all) helps the Ukrainian case. Therefore, the Polish position on the prospects of the accession of the eastern neighbour of Poland determines to a large extent the general positive attitude towards the whole process of EU enlargement. The fact that the accession of the candidates from South Eastern Europe is less important for Poland than the admission of Ukraine stems from the unequal role of the eastern and southern vectors in the Polish foreign policy. Polish political elites simply do not see the direct benefits of EU membership of countries from South Eastern Europe. For them, when it comes to Turkey, its EU
Ruland hat keine Orientierung. Gesprch mit Auenminister Meller, Die Welt, 7 January 2006, 3 Anna Fotyga, Europejska perspektywa Turcji i Ukrainy (European Prospect of Turkey and Ukraine), speech during the conference of the Institute of Public Affairs, 2 December 2005, authors archive.

accession is as distant as the country itself, whose citizens rarely choose Poland as their country of destination (the Turkish Diaspora in this EU state comprises only several hundred persons) and who do not have very close relations with Polish society. The economic relations between these countries have been developed in recent years (trade volume in 2008 about 4.3 billion dollars4), but Turkey is not a top priority country, never mentioned in foreign ministers exposes. This is the main reason why the EU memberships of Turkey and the West Balkan states are not top issues in the political debate, within the election campaigns, among others (2007 parliamentary elections, 2009 European Parliament elections). Declarations about these states, made by both the Polish government and the opposition, reflect the national position that is balanced, economical with words and often only partially specified.5 The political elites claim that the EU should give the above-mentioned countries a clear membership prospect. However, it seems that they talk more often than in the case of Ukraine about such issues as a fair starting point or pacta sunt servanda, and are more eager to admit that progress on the way to the EU depends largely on the state of preparations of the candidates. The Polish government approves the EU decisions in favour of the official or potential candidates, but does not express any signs of strong enthusiasm. It does not run information

Data: Wicepremier Pawlak: Polska i Turcja silne w czasach kryzysu (Deputy Prime Minister Pawlak: Poland and Turkey Strong in the Time of Crisis), 14 May 2009, 5 Adam Szymaski, Postura de Polonia frente a la ampliacin de la Unin Europea, La Musa, Vol. 5, 2006, pp. 121-136.

campaigns to communicate its positions and is not very active in the promotion of these candidates. The sense of distance and lack of direct benefits of, as well as knowledge about these countries are also the main reasons why the EU memberships of Turkey and the Balkan states are in the background of the public discussions in the media and among Polish society. It is a noticeable issue only occasionally, and it concentrates on a few repetitive questions.

Polish Position on the EU Membership of Turkey Government and President All three governments in the 2006-2009 period6 have generally supported or are still in favour of the EU membership of Turkey, which can be a reality after fulfilment of the official accession criteria. When it comes to Law and Justice governments, they recognised the Turkish accession as a real challenge. Foreign Minister Anna Fotyga said: We are not against Turkeys accession, though we realise the process will be
The government headed by Kazimierz Marcinkiewicz worked between October 2005 and July 2006. It was a minority government until April 2006 with the participation of the conservative party Law and Justice (PiS, Prawo i Sprawiedliwo). Between May 2006 and July 2006 PiS created a coalition with the right oriented League of Polish Families (LPR, Liga Polskich Rodzin) and populist Self-Defence (Samoobrona). Between July 2006 and November 2007 Law and Justice governed under the leadership of Jarosaw Kaczyski first together with the League of Polish Families and Self-Defence, and then alone between August and November 2007. From November 2007 the Polish government led by Donald Tusk consists of centre-right oriented Civic Platform (PO, Platforma Obywatelska) and Polish Peasant Party (PSL, Polskie Stronnictwo Ludowe). During the whole analysed period the Polish president is Lech Kaczyski, supported by PiS.

difficult.7 At the same time, they looked at the EU membership of this state as a step bringing benefits both to Poland and the EU. Apart from the already mentioned Ukrainian factor and underlining the need to sustain the Unions credibility, the governing elite talked about Turkey as a NATO ally and a good U.S. partner which has good relations with Poland (based on historical experience). According to the Polish government, Turkey as an EU member would strengthen the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) and the EU as a global player that would be able to take active part, e.g., in the fight against terrorism.8 The geopolitical factor, the main Polish argument in support of the whole process of the EU enlargement, played here a crucial role. The government started to recognise the Turkish role in the regions important both for EU and Poland (South Caucasus or Black Sea region).9 The Tusk government also supports the EU membership of Turkey, presenting the same main arguments and only focusing more on some factors connected with current developments - first of all, the importance of Turkey for the energy security of Europe.10 During the visit of Foreign Minister Ali Babacan in Warsaw in November 2008, the Polish counterpart Radosaw Sikorski said that Poland supported the EU membership of Turkey,
Chcemy otwartego dialogu z Rosj (We Want an Open Dialogue with Russia), Gazeta Wyborcza, 20-21 May 2006. 8 Fotyga, Europejska perspektywa Turcji i Ukrainy, authors archive. 9 More about the Polish position on the EU membership of Turkey in 2006 see Przemysaw Osiewicz, Polskie stanowisko w kwestii przystpienia Republiki Turcji do Unii Europejskiej (Polish Position on the Turkish Accession to the European Union), Przegld Politologiczny, Vol. 11, No. 2, 2006, pp. 61-71. 10 Speech of Deputy Foreign Minister Witold Waszczykowski during the conference The Middle East Peace Process after Annapolis, Warsaw, 3 April 2008, authors archive.

as the Turkish state had been in favour of Polish membership in NATO. Sikorski reminded Babacan that Poland belonged to the group of friends of Turkey who were trying to convince the EU states to accept Turkeys accession.11 In May 2009 (during the official visit of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoan in Poland), Prime Minister Tusk, assuring that Poland will participate consequently in the process of negotiations between Turkey and the EU, stated: We both deeply believe in near and positive end to the process of Turkish EU accession.12 He hoped that the year 2011, when Poland takes over the presidency in the EU, would bring the acceleration of negotiation talks. Tusk claimed that the European aspirations of Turkey were justified. He announced that Poland would remind its EU partners that some time ago nobody suggested the need to set new, additional criteria of the EU membership of Turkey besides the ones that exist now. According to Tusk, there should be no obstacle on the Turkish way to the EU after the fulfilment of the universal membership criteria by Turkey.13 The position of the Polish governments was confirmed by the Polish President, Lech Kaczyski, during the meeting of the Weimar Triangle in Mettlach, in December 2006. President Kaczyski was against the introduction of stricter measures against Turkey, which did not fulfil the obligation stemming from the

Polska popiera aspiracje Turcji do UE (Poland Supports the EU aspiration of Turkey), Wprost, 18 November 2008, 12 Premier Turcji w Warszawie (Prime Minister of Turkey in Warsaw), Rzeczpospolita, 14 May 2009,,305263.html 13 Polska popiera starania Turcji o wejcie do UE (Poland Supports the Turkish Efforts to Enter the EU), Wprost, 14 May 2009,

protocol to the customs union agreement. He was for the continuation of accession negotiations and admitted that it was a difficult process, bringing benefits after many years.14 In January 2007, the Polish president pointed out the importance of Turkey for the regional stability, energy security, increase in competitiveness and intercultural dialogue.15 However, the position of the Polish president proves that the attitude of some Polish authorities towards the EU membership of Turkey does not have to be constant, and can be influenced even by single events. In April 2008, President Kaczyski emphasized the cultural differences as a problem on the Turkish way to the EU.16 The weakening of the presidents support was a reaction to the unstable situation in Turkey caused by the constitution amendments that created the possibility to wear headscarves at universities. The mentioning of the cultural factor has a lot to do with the position of Law and Justice, with which the Polish president is clearly associated.

Political Parties The general attitudes of the Polish political parties towards the EU membership of Turkey have not been coherent in the period of 2006-2009. The opinions of their members vary because the Polish parties have different wings, and because most

Pressekonferenz nach dem Treffen des Weimarer Dreiecks in Mettlach, 5 December 2006, 15 Interview of the President of the Republic of Poland for the Turkish journal True, January 2007, 16 Interview of the President of the Republic of Poland for Reuters, 9 April 2008,

of their parties changed status (as governing or opposition party) during this time. Moreover, the attitude of individual members depended on the place of their activity (Polish parliament, European Parliament, etc.). It is difficult to present some classifications, therefore. However, the political profile of the party seems to have an impact on the position on the Turkish accession. The supporters of the EU membership of Turkey are centre-right Civic Platform and two left-oriented parties Democratic Left Alliance (SLD, Sojusz Lewicy Demokratycznej) and Social Democracy of Poland (Socjaldemokracja Polska). Civic Platforms members are realists they do not predict Turkish accession in the coming 10-15 years and they see problems concerning, among others, the respect for democratic rules and human rights. However, they have never been explicitly against Turkish accession, no matter if they were in government or opposition. This does not mean that they have not had some reservations, both before and after the 2007 parliamentary elections. As in the case of all other parties, various positions are taken by the deputies to the European Parliament (EPP-ED, EPP now). Reservations on their part were seen before the 2007 elections e.g., Jacek Saryusz-Wolski had already in 2004 (but also later) appealed that yes for Turkey had to also be yes for Ukraine.17 According to a 2008/2009 survey, there are deputies who are definitely for the Turkish accession, and those who rather support it (e.g., president of the EP Jerzy Buzek, who, however, recognises the cultural difference between Europe and


Warunki dla Turcji (Conditions for Turkey), Gazeta Wyborcza, 7 October 2004.

Turkey), as well as those who said that it was difficult to say or were rather against the EU membership of Turkey.18 The Democratic Left Alliance, as an opposition party, supports the EU membership of Turkey; this is a continuity of the position of this party while it governed (2001-2005). It follows the position of PES (S&D now) and supports the negotiation process with Turkey on the basis of the clear criteria, under the condition that both Turkey and the EU fulfil their obligations.19 One of the major politicians of this party, Tadeusz Iwiski, a big supporter of the Turkish way to the EU, compared the quality of the possible accession with the EU enlargement in 2004.20 The deputies to the European Parliament from this party are, however, not always sure about Turkish membership. In the 2008/2009 survey, they often answered rather yes or difficult to say as far as this issue is concerned. However, they oppose the emotional discussion and cultural arguments against the Turkish accession.21 A similar position is taken by Social Democracy of Poland, the party which is in the Polish parliament as an opposition party after the 2007 elections (taking part in it together with the Democratic Left Alliance and two minor parties) and in
Surveys (November 2008-February 2009) from the research project (with the participation of the author of this text) titled Role of the Polish Deputies of the European Parliament in Shaping Its Policy, European Studies Chair, Faculty for Journalism and Political Science, University of Warsaw; Davutolu criticizes speaker of EU parliament, Hurriyet Daily News, 16 November 2009, 19 Manifest PES 2009 (PES Manifesto 2009), p. 57, 20 Ankieta Wirtualnej Polski - Tadeusz Iwiski (Virtual Poland Survey Tadeusz Iwiski), 21 Surveys (November 2008-February 2009), University of Warsaw.

the EP before 2009. The leader Marek Borowski is for the EU membership of Turkey, providing it fulfils the democratic and economic criteria of the membership, assessed thoroughly by the EU.22 Again, the deputies to the EP (2004-2009), also PES members, had different opinions. Jzef Pinior is a strong supporter of the EU membership of Turkey, who wanted to set a date for the Turkish accession. Other politicians are not so sure about it, and sometimes even answered in the 2008/2009 survey that they are rather against the EU membership of Turkey.23 The politicians of Self-Defence, which played an important role before the 2007 parliamentary elections (they have been out of the Polish parliament since 2007 and EP since 2009), also seemed to support the Turkish accession. This was proven already in 2004, when the majority of its deputies to the EP voted for opening the accession negotiations with Turkey.24 However, deputy Jan Masiel (UEN) said in the 2008/2009 survey that he was definitely against the EU membership of Turkey.25 The position of the Polish Peasant Party is ambiguous, hence difficult to define. Although it rather supports the EU membership of Turkey, in 2004, its EP deputies (EPP-ED) abstained from voting when the Parliament decided about the start of the accession negotiations with Turkey. This party can have
Zatrze rnice midzy "star" i "now" Uni (Blurring the Difference Between New and Old Europe), official website of Marek Borowski, 23 Surveys (November 2008-February 2009), University of Warsaw. 24 Polscy eurodeputowani podzieleni w sprawie otwarcia negocjacji z Turcj (Polish Eurodeputies Divided on the Opening of Negotiations with Turkey), Polish Press Agency, 15 December 2004, 25 Surveys (November 2008-February 2009), University of Warsaw.

some objections to the Turkish membership, because it is sensitive towards the Common Agricultural Policy.26 Polish political parties that support Turkish accession repeat the arguments presented in the European debate. These are, among others, that Turkey is important for the EU because it can strengthen the Unions economic position in the world, help to solve the problem of energy security and the development of a multicultural Europe, as well as enhance the role of CFSP. They also present arguments from the Polish interests perspective. According to the supporters of Turkish accession, it would make the EU membership of Ukraine easier, serve the Polish interests when it comes to relations with Russia, strengthen the transatlantic bloc in the EU, develop the economic relations between Poland and Turkey and help to diversify the supplies of energy resources to Poland.27 Right-oriented parties - Law and Justice, as well as the League of Polish Families - were more sceptical about Turkish accession. Although Law and Justices position has been evolving since 2004, some of its politicians have always opposed the EU membership of Turkey. Jarosaw Kaczyski was against it, in 2004, because of the cultural differences between Turkey and Europe, as well as the possible costs of the Turkish accession.28 In
Adam Balcer, Polish Stakeholders in the EU-Turkey Debate, in: Nathalie Tocci (ed.), Talking Turkey in Europe: Towards a Differentiated Communication Strategy, IAI Quaderni English Series No. 13, December 2008, p. 49, 27 See more e.g. Piotr Kamierkiewicz, Poland, in Piotr Kamierkiewicz, The EU Accession Prospects for Turkey and Ukraine. Debates in New Member States, Institute of Public Affairs, Warsaw 2006, pp. 138-141. 28 EP deputies from this party voted against the opening of the accession negotiations and proposed the privileged partnership instead. See more: Balcer,

the 2005-2007 period, the party leaders stance was modified by the participation in the government. However, the partys attitude influenced its position. As it has been said, the Law and Justice government underlined that the EU membership of Turkey was a big challenge (benefits are mentioned later). It said that it was not against the Turkish accession, but avoided using an explicitly affirmative form. Moreover, not only Lech Kaczyski, but also his brother Jarosaw mentioned the cultural argument. The cultural and religious differences seem to be counterbalanced in the debate in 2009 by the geopolitical factor, but they still play an important role, which shows the new program of the party.29 Many EP deputies (UEN, ECR now) are still opposing the EU membership of Turkey. According to Konrad Szymaski, Poland should not be the major supporter of Turkey until smoothing out the differences between Turkey and Ukraine. He claims that Turkish accession would destroy the European identity. According to him, Turkey is important for the EU from the economic and political point of view, but its assets can be used by the Union without EU membership.30 Many other PiS deputies to the EP are sceptical as well e.g. historian Wojciech Roszkowski, who is rather against the Turkish accession.31
Polish Stakeholders in the EU-Turkey Debate, p. 49; Polscy eurodeputowani, 29 There is a talk about the EU enlargement eastwards and to Balkans there, but Turkey is not mentioned. See Nowoczesna, Solidarna, Bezpieczna Polska. Program Prawa i Sprawiedliwoci (Modern, Loyal, Secure Poland. Law and Justice Program), Krakw 2009, pp. 172-185, 30 Konrad Szymaski, Z poparciem Turcji powinnimy si wstrzyma (We Should Abstain from the Support for Turkey), Nasz Dziennik, 21 November 2008. 31 Surveys (November 2008-February 2009), University of Warsaw.

The League of Polish Families preferred the privileged partnership of Turkey and the EU because of cultural differences between Turkey and Europe. Its EP deputies opposed the opening of the accession negotiations. In the 2008/2009 survey, they chose the rather not option when answering the question about the EU membership of Turkey.32 Apart from the already mentioned arguments, the sceptical politicians, following the European debate, talk about Turkey as a poor, big Muslim country that does not respect human rights and is located in an unstable international neighbourhood. According to them, there are already difficulties in the integration of the Turkish minorities in Europe.33

Society In recent years there has been a growing interest in Turkey in the Polish society, at least in some groups (e.g., students or academicians), which is connected with the fact that more and more European issues have a lot to do with Turkey, and because the Turkish culture is more popular, especially after the Nobel Prize for Orhan Pamuk. However, Turkey is still a sort of niche issue and the Polish society, even educated Poles, know little about this country. Moreover, their sources of information are first of all media or tourist trips, which makes their knowledge selective, superficial and, unfortunately, sometimes based on prejudices. The
Ibidem. Polscy eurodeputowani, 33 See more Adam Szymaski, Przysze czonkostwo Turcji w Unii Europejskiej skutki dla Polski (The Future EU Membership of Turkey Impact on Poland), Polski Przegld Dyplomatyczny, No. 5, 2006, pp. 35-54.

Polish press articles on Turkey have often shown negative issues, such as recent terrorist activities or human rights abuses. Because of all this, Polish citizens can sometimes have an impression that Turkey is some kind of Islamic religious state and a military dictatorship at the same time. This phenomenon, together with the rising negative view of Muslims in Poland34, led to the weakening of Polish support for the EU membership of Turkey in recent years. According to a Transatlantic Trends survey only in 2004, 27 percent of Poles treated the Turkish accession as a good thing, 13 percent as bad and 37 percent as neither good nor bad.35 This corresponded to the Polish surveys at this time and was a result of such factors as prevailing of the positive image of Turkey in media, a soft support for the Turkish aspirations by the Polish Church and the lack of a sizeable Turkish minority in Poland.36 However, in recent years, the above mentioned negative factors resulted in more people who look at the Turkish accession as a neither good nor bad thing in 2009, it was 47 percent of Poles. According to the same survey in 2009, 18 percent of the Polish

According to Pew Research Centers poll from Spring 2008 in 2005 30 percent of Poles had the negative view of Muslims and in 2008 already 46 percent of the Polish citizens. Data: Unfavourable Views of Both Jews and Muslims Increase in Europe, 17 September 2008, 35 Data: Transatlantic Trends, Topline Data 2009, 36 See more: Wojciech Forysiski, Przemysaw Osiewicz, Should Poland Support EU Membership for Turkey? Convergent and Divergent Interests, in: Jarosaw Jaczak (ed.), Rediscovering Europe: Political Challenges in the 21st Century EU, Adam Mickiewicz University, Pozna 2007, pp. 132-134.


citizens treated the EU membership of Turkey as a good thing and 17 percent as a bad one.37 However, it must be admitted that the general support for the Turkish accession is still relatively high, although lower than for the Balkan states or Ukraine. This stems from a very positive attitude towards the whole process of EU enlargement. According to Eurobarometer 71, 69% of Polish citizens are in favour of the process (17% are against), which gives this country the first position among EU nations.38 The debate about Turkish accession has not been developed among the organized groups in Polish society. However, it is possible to point to the attitude of the most important parts of the civil society in Poland. The Catholic Church, which has a strong position in Poland, is more critical than the other organizations in the Polish society about the EU membership of Turkey, emphasizing the cultural differences between Europe and Turkey. However, it is divided on the issue. The church hierarchs have never officially opposed the Turkish accession. They only appeal for the respect of rights of the Christian minorities in Turkey. Archbishop Alfons Nossol did talk about the support for Turkeys aspirations as a Christian obligation, in the spirit of solidarity and as a way to improve relations between Islam and Christianity. On the other hand, such hierarchs as Primate Jzef Glemp or field bishop of the Polish army Tadeusz Poski presented sometimes critical opinions,


Data: Transatlantic Trends, 38 Data: Eurobarometer 71. Public Opinion in the European Union, p. 162,

remindful of the myth of the battle of Vienna and the danger of turning Europe into a European Caliphate.39 Based on talks with ordinary priests, it can be argued that they are also divided on this issue. Some of them rule out the Turkish accession, because Turkey is a Muslim country, but others have no objections, emphasizing only a need for fulfilment of the accession criteria. Some priests have close links with political parties, taking similar positions to theirs. The best example is Tadeusz IsakowiczZalewski, also an informal leader of the Armenian lobby in Poland, who is sceptical about the EU membership of Turkey unless it recognizes the Armenian massacres in 1915-1916 as genocide. Universities and think tanks, both public (e.g., Centre for Eastern Studies or Polish Institute of International Affairs) and private (e.g., Institute of Public Affairs, demosEuropa, Union&Poland Foundation, Foundation Amicus Europae, Sobieski Institute), have organized in recent years some (though not numerous) lectures, seminars and conferences about Turkey-EU relations, or have published works on it, because this issue has become a very interesting research topic. The biggest event was the Europe-Turkey Forum organized together by the Eastern Institute and Turkish TASAM, in Sopot in December 2009, with the participation of about 150 persons from Turkey and the EU countries. The debates show that Polish scholars and analysts are also divided on the EU membership of Turkey. In Poland, there are not many scholars or analysts who really work on Turkey-EU relations - there are more persons who work on general Turkish foreign policy or on relations between Turkey and the

Balcer, Polish Stakeholders in the EU-Turkey Debate, pp. 54-55.


neighbouring regions. These few who do work on Turkey-EU relations e.g., Adam Balcer (demosEuropa, University of Warsaw), Przemysaw Osiewicz (Adam Mickiewicz University in Pozna, Sobieski Institute), and the author of this text usually support the Turkish accession, while being at the same time objective. This means that they present the arguments for Turkish accession (e.g., they emphasize the role of Turkey in EU external relations or energy security), but they are able to have a critical approach to it, and they understand the arguments of sceptics. They also contribute to the popularization of this issue in Poland, together with some other think-tankers, e.g., Krzysztof Bobiski from Union&Poland Foundation. Of course, many other people, whose main subject of interest is not the Turkish case, take part in the public debate on the EU membership of Turkey, as well. In that case, they are very often sceptical about it, as is professor Roman Kuniar from the University of Warsaw, who presents a wellknown argument that Turkey does not belong to Europe culturally (but Israel does).40 It seems that the Polish business community should become a supporter of the EU membership of Turkey, because it can bring benefits for economic ties between both countries, developed significantly in recent years. Certainly, the supporters include the Polish-Turkish Chamber of Commerce, established in May 2007 and consisting of almost 30 companies from the Polish

Roman Kuniar, UE kluczowe problemy (EU- Key Problems), Dziennik, 9 August 2006.


side. They have organized the Polish-Turkish Economic Forum in October 2008 and again in Spring 2009.41 There are, in Poland, some not very influential organizations which focus their activity on Turkey. Among these, there are both supporters and opponents of the Turkish accession. To the first group belongs the Association for PolishTurkish Friendship, which aspires to develop ties between the two societies. There are also sporadic actions of some small and briefly functioning organizations that are against the EU membership of Turkey. An example was the society Europe of Future, founded by young people in Wrocaw and Warsaw, which organized already in 2005 a campaign against Turkish accession, being a member of the group of European NGOs Voice for Europe and collecting signatures under the petition to the European and national institutions. They supported the development of relations between Turkey and European countries, but opposed the Turkish accession to the EU, because the country does not respect human rights, is too poor and has unstable neighbours.42

Media The Polish media are not very interested in Turkey or in relations between the country and the EU, which is reflected in the fact that they do not have regular correspondents in Turkey. In
Waldemar Pawlak: Polska i Turcja silne w czasach kryzysu (Waldemar Pawlak: Poland and Turkey Strong in the Time of Crisis), Ministry of Economy, 14 May 2009, 42 Dominika Pszczkowska, Kampania przeciwko wpuszczeniu Turcji do UE (Campaign Against Letting Turkey into Europe), Gazet Wyborcza, 17 May 2005,

recent years, the Polish press and TV have chosen to cover Turkish issues only occasionally e.g., before EU summits or when something happened in that country. In the latter case, unfortunately, negative issues prevail, although there are also some press articles praising Turkey, e.g., the article in Rzeczpospolita by Jacek Przybylski about, paradoxically, Turkish actions during the April 2009 NATO summit.43 The lack of knowledge about Turkey and the lack of understanding that it is an important country also for Poland, make the wide coverage on the issue impossible. TV and radio stations do not try to shape the opinions on the Turkish candidacy, reflecting the most popular views of elites or the public.44 The situation looks different in the case of newspapers and magazines.45 Liberal Gazeta Wyborcza rather supports the EU membership of Turkey. It usually publishes positive commentaries (e.g., the articles written by journalist Dawid Warszawski), yet sometimes with critical remarks. It was so, also, before 2006, when journalist Marek Rapacki expressed fears about the negative influence of the potential Turkish accession on the Polish beneficiary status in the EU.46 In more conservative newspapers, such as Rzeczpospolita or Dziennik, views are more diversified. Some of their journalists support the Turkish accession, but others can be critical, as with regard to the issue of the Popes speech in Regensburg, in 2006, and the Turkish reaction to it.


Jacek Przybylski, Mistrzowie szachw dyplomatycznych (Masters of Diplomatic Chess), Rzeczpospolita, 14 April 2009. 44 Balcer, Polish Stakeholders in the EU-Turkey Debate, p. 51. 45 The Polish newspapers and magazines have some journalists who know a lot about Turkey and sometimes speak Turkish (e.g., Dawid Warszawski and Witold Szabowski from Gazeta Wyborcza, Jakub Kumoch from Dziennik or ukasz Wjcik who wrote for Przekrj). 46 Kamierkiewicz, Poland, p. 133.

Usually, moderate supporters of the Turkish accession among journalists point to the geopolitical argument. The sceptics also mention the issues that are debated in Europe, i.e., cultural differences, lack of the democratic system or borders with unstable countries. However, they present also the Polish arguments: the negative impact of the Turkish accession on the EU membership prospects for Ukraine, or on the EU budget.47

Conclusion To conclude, a general support of Poland for the whole process of EU enlargement has a positive impact on the Polish position on the membership of Turkey, which is not, however, a top issue in the public debate in this Central European country. It can be said that Poland is generally in favour of the Turkish accession. However, a more detailed analysis proves that the Polish position is more complex than it seemed at first glance. Some groups within elites and society can be critical or even against the EU membership of Turkey. Moreover, the Polish positive attitude cannot be taken for granted. The position of both political authorities and common citizens can change, being influenced even by single events or tendencies, in Turkey and Poland as well as in Europe in general. This is the reason why the communication strategy about Turkey must be developed also in case of Poland. It could limit the negative influence of stereotypes and oversimplifications on the Polish approach towards the Turkish accession to the EU.

Balcer, Polish Stakeholders in the EU-Turkey Debate, p. 52.


Iulia Serafimescu, Mihai Sebe Romanian Perceptions

Abstract Even though the topics usually associated with Turkeys accession process in the capitals around the Union are not so much debated upon in Bucharest, the importance of having Turkey play as a European actor is not underestimated, especially when it comes to the Black Sea area. Officials and civil society alike declare themselves supportive of Turkey becoming an EU Member, invoking excellent economic bilateral relations, common history and common perspectives, as well as more strategicallysophisticated reasons such as the role of Turkey in issues pertaining to Europes energy security and the fact that the Unions leverage in key areas of the globe would be enhanced following Turkeys accession. Substantive debates on the institutional effects, at the EU level, of Turkeys accession, as well as those regarding the real implications of Turkeys accession for Romania, are, however, missing.

Iulia Serafimescu is Project Coordinator in the European Studies and Analysis Unit, European Institute of Romania, and Associate Editor of the Romanian Journal of European Affairs. E-mail: Mihai Sebe is Project Coordinator in the European Studies and Analysis Unit, European Institute of Romania, and Associate Editor of the Romanian Journal of European Affairs. E-mail: The opinions expressed in this document are those of the authors alone and do not represent the official position of the European Institute of Romania.

Introduction Going from economic to political, the arguments behind the support for Turkeys accession1 stem either directly or indirectly from a series of concrete dimensions, such as bilateral ties and various regional cooperation aspects, but also from the ways in which Romania and Turkey approach issue specific topics such as security. A brief overview of these elements is offered below, together with an image of how the major topics surrounding Turkeys accession negotiations are reflected in Bucharest.

Support for Turkeys EU Bid As recently as November 2008, Romania and Turkey celebrated 130 years since the establishment of formal diplomatic relations. The occasion was only appropriate to emphasize once again the unity of perspective and opinions that the two countries share by virtue of their common history and their positioning on the shores of the Hospitable Sea, arguments that ultimately underlie Romanias support for Turkeys EU bid. Across the Romanian political party spectrum and during the period subjected to analysis (2006-2009), little change is to be identified in the Romanian political discourse as regards the topic of Turkeys accession to the EU, and indeed as regards various
After January 1st 2007, Romania finds itself in the legitimate position to confirm the total, firm, support for Turkeys integration in the European Union See Cristian Diaconescu, Romanian Minster of Foreign Affairs, 3 July 2009, Press Statement available at, accessed on 10 June 2009.

other topics concerning Romanias position towards Turkey, while the rhetoric of Romanian high officials has advocated support for Turkeys EU bid and cooperation on all levels. Unlike in other Member States, most voices of the Romanian civil society are consonant with the state-level position of support for Turkeys accession2 and recent polls suggest Romanians are the most favourable, among Europeans, to Turkey becoming an EU Member3. Romanias new status as an EU Member State in 2007 only made for nuances in this discourse, to the extent that the word cooperation is henceforth endowed with new meanings: all regional policies gain new (European) stakes, while Romania, in pushing the agenda on the Black Sea, calls for awareness that there can be no European policy for the Black Sea without engaging Turkey to play as a European actor. Against the backdrop of a special bilateral interest, translated in the excellent economic relations between the two countries before, as well as after Romanias accession, from 2006 to 2009 the need is to cement the relationship between the two countries by means of stronger political ties4. This is the more so
See for instance Magdalena Boiangiu, Ispita superioritii (The temptation of superiority), Dilema Veche, 12-18 January 2007, available at (Without positioning itself on one side or another (because we would not be in the position to tilt the scales, but only to stimulate the hostility of others), Romania should be on the side of those Turks who wish to join the EU), accessed on 3 June 2009. 3 Transatlantic Trends 2009, German Marshall Fund, see,-dar-vor-ca-Turcia-sa-intre-in-UE-s144028.html, accessed on 15 September 2009. 4 Prime Minister Clin Popescu- Triceanu, Press statement upon arrival from the official visit in Turkey, 2 February 2006, available at

since there are voices who argue that the political relationship between the two is more like a paper tiger, with no concrete bilateral projects planned for the near future.5

Hot in Brussels is Lukewarm in Bucharest Hardly any of the concerns voiced in the capitals around Europe in respect to Turkeys accession are the subjects of hot debates in Bucharest. Thus, discussion of Turkeys European vocation, for instance, is no longer appropriate from the perspective of the Romanian president, since the decision to begin talks with Turkey has already been taken6; upon meeting the set criteria, the EU is bound to hold true the promise it made Turkey. In this respect, even the dispute with Cyprus, which led to the 2006 negotiation deadlock with the EU, must not be allowed to hamper indefinitely Turkeys accession process: we stand convinced that efforts must be continued towards the reunification of Cyprus. We stand convinced that the EU must hold true its commitments towards Turkey, that negotiation talks with Turkey must be pursued and that Turkey will be an EU member state when it meets all the standards, including those pertaining to the relationship with an EU Member State, such as Cyprus. As
tariceanu-la-sosirea-din-vizita-oficiala-in-turcia__l1a54512.html, accessed on 3 June 2009. 5 Adrian Cioroianu, Former Minister of Foreign Affairs, A Romanian priority: Turkey (O prioritate romneasc: Turcia), Foreign Policy Romania, September/ October 2009, p.80 6 Interview with Romanian President Traian Bsescu in the French publication Dernires Nouvelles d'Alsace, 17 December 2006, available at

regards the issue of Turkish airports and seaports closed to Greek Cypriot traffic, though, Romanian officials tend to consider that the current situation goes against both the spirit and the letter of the Union: it would be impossible to imagine that two EU Member States could ever impose entering restrictions in their respective national air or sea ports to vessels flying the flag of EU Member States7. On the issue of the Kurdish minority, a hot debate topic when it comes to Turkeys accession, especially around the countries of Old Europe, Romania rallied behind the EU position at the end of 2007 when PKK attacks prompted Turkish military incursions into Northern Iraq: Romania understands Turkeys legitimate security interests and believes that each state has the right to defend itself against terrorist threats. Romanias position in this respect is consonant with the EU position, which states that fighting terrorism successfully may only be possible to the extent states agree to cooperate8. When debating upon Turkeys accession around Europe, the EUs cultural identity perceived as under siege in various capitals around Europe, not least due to the growing influx of Muslim immigrants is also a high salience topic. One year after Romanias accession, Adrian Severin, Group of the Progressive
Joint Press Statement, Traian Bsescu, President of Romania, Karolos Papoulias, President of the Hellenic Republic, 15 February 2007, available at, accessed on 17 June 2009. 8 Joint Press Statement, Clin Popescu-Triceanu, Prime Minister of Romania, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Prime Minister of the Republic of Turkey, 25 October 2007, available at, accessed on 10 June 2009.

Alliance of Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament (S&D) MEP and former Minister of Foreign Affairs, was speaking about defining the Unions cultural identity in the mould of secularism: We pay respect to the various cultures and we must open a platform in order to create unity with different religions also. Turkeys accession to the EU will show exactly how secular the EU is9. In Bucharest, unlike in other capitals across Europe, Turkeys accession was not a seminal issue in the debates surrounding the elections for the European Parliament this year. However, in the context of the previous elections, held in November 2007 after Romania and Bulgarias accession, one Romanian NGO queried the most important Romanian political parties as to their foreign policy priorities. The answer coming from the Democratic Party10, while being the most substantiated, offered several insights as to what Romanias perspectives might be in relation to Turkeys accession. Overall, it is in Romanias best interest that Turkey joins the EU because only in this way the economic and political development of the Black Sea riparian states can be guaranteed, as well as energy security in this region, but there are nevertheless a series of concerns as regards Turkeys accession, such as the one relating to the EU decision-making process: It is estimated that in 20 years from now Turkeys population will reach 80-85 million, which would make it the state
See:, accessed on 25 June 2009. 10 The Democratic Party ceased to exist in December 2007. Formerly headed by Traian Bsescu (currently President of Romania) and later Emil Boc (currently Prime Minister of Romania), it gave rise by merger to the Democratic Liberal Party, part of the present governing coalition.

with the largest population in the EU [] in such a scenario, in order for Turkey to become an EU Member State, the decisionmaking mechanism at the EU-level must be reconsidered [] If Turkey were to join the EU under the current institutional organization formula, the decision-making mechanism would be paralyzed.11 Arguably as a result of the fact that Romania is a new Member State, Romanian attitudes are generally supportive of future enlargements, specifically those of Turkey and the states in the Western Balkans. Since Romania is now a part of the EU body, a plastic physiological comparison explains that the EU apparatus should be a faster processor: it is not the candidate countries or the new Member States that are indigestible: our digestive system is too slow. Either we find a good digestive quickly or we will be obliged to starve for a long time.12 There are two reasons behind the feeling of urgency associated with this perspective on enlargement: the first is that enlargement is one of the powerbestowing dimensions of the EU and it is only by being a powerful actor in a global world that the EU can offer its citizens security, and the second one, as explained by Adrian Severin, S&D MEP, is the fact that the EU needs to be competitive as much as it needs to be powerful: Enlargement is not a concession made to the
Teme Europene pentru Alegeri Europene (European topics for European elections), Questionnaire of the NGO Clubul Romnia-UE, October 2007, available at, accessed on 25 June 2009. 12 Adrian Severin, S&D MEP, European Parliament debate, 9 July 2008, available at, accessed on 10 June 2009.

candidate countries. Some of them, such as Ukraine, Serbia, Moldova and Turkey, have alternatives maybe worse, but alternatives. In these cases we are in competition with others. Some of their internal problems could be solved better inside, rather than outside, the European Union. If we do not offer them prospects, we do not offer our citizens security.13 Still on the topic of enlargement, while there is no mentioning of the strategic partnership surrogate for accession as regards Turkey, the idea of a multiple-speed Europe is perceived as constructive: in time, although this phrase was not used as such, different speeds have been a reality of the enlargement process (ever since the period in which only the European Economic Communities were in place). [] The EUs next enlargement will also be a process in which we will again speak about different speeds: Croatia, Turkey, Serbia.14

Regional Cooperation and a European Black Sea Agenda In Bucharest, support for Turkeys accession to the EU is generally voiced but not elaborated upon.15 Between 2006 and
See above footnote. Renate Weber, ALDE MEP, interviewed in UE faciliteaz existena liderilor supranaionali, mai departe conteaz persoanele (EU facilitates the existence of supranational leaders, what matters next is the persons themselves), Adevrul, 6 June 2009, available at, accessed on 10 June 2009. 15 It is interesting in this respect to note one journalists observation: Recently asked to speak about Turkeys Accession to the EU, one high ranking Romanian official could only fumble something like we support Turkeys European path. Why? Because there is no national, articulate position on this topic. We
14 13


2009, the large majority of official statements dealing with Romanias support for Turkey during its accession process iterate promises of sharing the expertise Romania gained in its own negotiation process and providing the technical assistance (e.g. by means of twinning projects) needed in order to carry out the necessary economic and political reforms. Promises are being made and support is expressed, but on most occasions they go hand in hand with the proviso of Turkey meeting the accession criteria. Statements of support for Turkish membership are usually made in connection with various topics present on the cooperation agenda. In this respect, on the bilateral level, such major energy projects as the building of the underwater electrical cable Constana - Istanbul are underway, while in the regional dimension, the two states cooperate in various regional organisations focused on the region of South East Europe and that of the Black Sea. While in the South East of Europe the cooperation formula has found a fortunate expression in the functional duality of the South East European Cooperation Process (SEECP) (organization with political attributes) and the Regional Cooperation Council (RCC) (operational framework for SEECP), the Romanian perspective as regards the cooperation in the Black Sea area is that it lacks precisely the political dimension that would
simply dont know whether Turkeys accession is to Romanias advantage or not, and if it is, we dont know if we would prefer a swifter or a slower accession process. See Sever Voinescu, Departe de Europa real (Far from real Europe), Cotidianul, 18 June 2007, available at , accessed on 17 June 2009.

enable the existent cooperation organizations and the relevant stakeholders to cope with the current threats, even more so since energy related issues have pushed the (Wider) Black Sea on the European agenda. Cooperation thus needs to go beyond the economic direction (exemplified, for instance, by the Organization of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation), and in this respect the organizations/missions that currently exist are either strictly focused on security (BLACKSEAFOR, Operation Black Sea Harmony) or, despite Romanian vocal backing, have yielded few concrete results so far (Black Sea Synergy). Over this particular need for an institutionalized political dimension at the Black Sea, the Romanian and Turkish perspectives split. In 2006, Daniel Dianu, Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE) MEP and former Minister of Finance, was taking note of the absence of high ranking officials from Russia and Turkey at the launching event of the Black Sea Forum, a Romanian initiative meant to stimulate the political consultative process among the Black Sea riparian states. On this occasion, some elements hinted at Turkeys future moves at the Black Sea. Dianu was warning Romanian foreign policy and security policy-makers to watch closely the dialogue between Ankara and Moscow, since there is likelihood of a scenario involving a Turkey-Russia Black Sea axis: As the process of Turkeys negotiations of EU accession gets more and more complicated, Ankara will be more and more prone to re-think its strategic options. [] A big country, a regional power as Turkey thinks of itself and its neighbours perceive it , with a very dynamic economy (minus some constant weaknesses related to the duality of the economic system), with a military to be feared

(approx. half a million soldiers, modern air forces etc.) will not find itself knocking sine die at the Unions door. My argument here rests not only with the pride of the Turkish people, but also with pragmatic reasons, related to the dynamics in the global context: the economic rise of China and India, Irans evolution as a rival in the region, the intricate situation in Iraq (including the issue of the Kurd population) and, last but not least, the advantages of a multi-layer cooperation with Russia.16 Without taking the argument so far as to think of an Ankara-Moscow axis at the Black Sea, the Romanian President Traian Bsescu, more or less the architect of Romanias Black Sea foreign policy perspective, agreed in 2006 with this vision, underlining the sheer impossibility of ever dealing with the Black Sea corpus of problems in power formulas that exclude Turkey or Russia, the great regional powers.17 After Romanias accession, this perspective became one of the dimensions to be explored in the search for a European strategy at the Black Sea. The argument that there is no serious game at the Black Sea without Turkey playing quarterback is also picked up by the current President of the Romanian Senate, Mircea Geoan, albeit in a broader perspective: Romania as a Member State (and one of the stops on the Silk Road), together with the EU as a global actor, cannot fail to admit Turkeys strategic importance in the Black Sea complex understood as part of the Eurasian corridor linking Europe to
Daniel Dianu, O nou ax? (A new axis?), Jurnalul Naional, 11 July 2006, available at, accessed on 17 June 2009. 17 Romanian President Traian Bsescu, Press Statement, 20 January 2006, available at, accessed on 10 June 2009.

China via Central Asia the corridor where all the major global actors have high stakes.18 The prevalent Romanian foreign policy outlook at the Black Sea refers to a certain unity of perspective of the riparian states in relation to the unity of threats that must be addressed. More specifically, since we are dealing with a set of asymmetrical threats that are common (drug and arms trafficking towards the states of the EU, human trafficking, frozen conflicts), the assumption is that the perspectives and views these countries hold in order to counter the threats must resemble. The explanation for this is the fact that the states are now interconnected to the EuroAtlantic structures (either by membership or as candidates), and should therefore reason as Euro-Atlantic players: Turkey, Romania and Bulgaria are NATO members. Is there room for doubt that three NATO member states must hold, one way or another, common objectives? Do you believe that NATO countries should oppose NATOs participation?19. EU membership for Turkey is thus seen as a mere expression of Turkeys de facto already assumed commitments. In an interesting analysis of Romanias foreign policy at the Black Sea, analysts at Revista 22 weekly note that, after 2005, the inability of Romanias foreign policy-makers to garner Turkish
Mircea Geoan, President of the Senate of Romania, Head of the Social Democratic Party, Intervention in the Debate 20 Years Ago 20 Years to Follow: Stages and Perspectives for Eastern and Central Europe, The Aspen Institute Romania, 10 September 2009, Bucharest (authors participation). 19 Zaman, interview with Traian Bsescu, President of Romania, 31 May 2006, available at, accessed on 3 June 2009.

support for Romanian initiatives at the Black Sea ultimately accounts for the latters failure.20 Furthermore, European initiatives also seem to lack the necessary political teeth: the Black Sea Synergy is in critical danger of losing credibility points, as observed by Ioan Mircea Pacu, S&D MEP. The argument is that as long as the real corpus of problems at the Black Sea,energy and frozen conflicts, is being dealt with on a sectoral basis, i.e. in the light of Turkeys membership negotiations for instance, this initiative will fail to provide any added value.21

EU Going Global: Security Aspects Turkeys accession talks have been interpreted in Bucharest to have direct bearing on European security on several dimensions. The most immediate of these dimensions is energy security, where Turkeys role has been referred to as paramount22 in securing the diversification of energy supply for
Ileana Racheru, Octavian Manea, Prioritile de politic extern ale lui Traian Bsescu (Traian Bsescus foreign policy priorities), Revista 22, 10 March 2009, available at, accessed on 10 June 2009. 21 Ioan Mircea Pacu, S&D MEP, European Parliament intervention, 12 March 2009, available at, accessed on 17 June 2009. 22 Cristian Diaconescu, Romanian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Press Statement,12 May 2009, available at, accessed on 3 June 2009.

the European Union. Once in the EU, Romania linked the priority of European energy security to its solid interest in the Black Sea area and manifested vocal support for the Nabucco pipeline project, seen as a way to make use of the trans-Caspian transBlack Sea corridor, a direct and safe energy route, that may have an important contribution in the economic development of the states in the region23. Turkish support for the project signals understanding in Ankara as regards the strategic energy needs of the Union and also proves its willingness to play this energy game as a de facto European actor. Nevertheless, analysts warn about the possibility that, expressing frustration over the stalling of the accession talks, Turkey may switch its ambitions from being a mere transit country to being a regional energy hub. Such an evolution, which would imply that part of the Azeri gas destined for Nabucco would be re-exported by Turkey, would go against the European, and thus the Romanian position.24 The Romanian perspective on the issue of energy security as a dimension of European security was brought to the attention of the Euro-Atlantic institutions in several episodes in 2005, 2006 and 2008. The perspective implies an internationalization of the Black Sea mostly by placing the issue of the security of energy transport routes on the NATO agenda. On the issue of the NATO
Romanian President Traian Bsescu, Speech at the Nobel Institute, Oslo, 7 November 2007, available at, accessed on 3 June 2009. 24 Adrian Pop, Ph.D. Professor, Faculty of Political Science, National School of Political and Administrative Studies, Bucharest, Intervention in the Conference Political evolutions in Turkey. The future of Turkish-Romanian bilateral relations, Friedrich Ebert Stiftung, 4 May 2009, Bucharest (authors participation).

presence in the Black Sea area, analysts again note that Romanian and Turkish opinions are hardly in a unity of perspectives, and, even more, that the Turkish position is more susceptible to be consonant with that of Russia: Turkey is the one who decides who enters the Black Sea. An eventual NATO presence in the region may be perceived by Russia in zero sum game terms, which is the last thing that Turkey wants. We notice, in fact, a genuine convergence of interests between Russia and Turkey, in the sheerest spirit of countering the threat, namely their concerted rejection of any EU, NATO or US initiative that may affect their regional geopolitical status25. The Turkish perspective on Black Sea security, on the other hand, favours the regional solutions to regional problems approach, which translates for instance in the Turkish opposition to a spill-over of the Active Endeavour Operation of the Alliance from the Mediterranean to the Black Sea, in favour of the Black Sea Harmony project. This approach is considered wrong by military analyst Iulian Chifu, from the Center of Conflict Prevention and Early Warning, since the so-called subregionalization of security cuts out the situation in that area from the global context, with a view to giving priority to one of the actors at stake or to a certain agreement26 and is by no means suited for an European strategy in the region.


Ileana Racheru, Octavian Manea, Prioritile de politic extern ale lui Traian Bsescu (Traian Bsescus foreign policy priorities), Revista 22, 10 March 2009, available at, accessed on 17 June 2009. 26 Iulian Chifu, Marea Neagr, lac rusesc sau balt regional? (The Black Sea, Russian lake or regional pond?) Dilema Veche, 10 February 2006, available at

Ultimately, Turkeys accession is interpreted in terms of global European clout. Adrian Severin, S&D MEP, believes that the Union will never be a global actor without having Turkey among its members27 while Ion Iliescu, former President of Romania, explains this perspective by referring to the consequences of Turkeys accession for the Union: the European Union will project its influence and stabilising factor effect further, towards the regions of the Middle East and Central Asia28. Turkeys potential to bring about EU leverage in the areas of the Black Sea, the Caucasus, Central Asia and the Middle East is not underestimated in Bucharest.

Conclusion As Romania works on assuming, in a more resolute manner, its Member State responsibilities and also to build up a stronger voice among European peers, substantive debates are likely to follow as regards Turkeys accession to the EU. Nevertheless, given the constant support voiced for Turkish EU membership both prior and post Romanias accession, the debates in Bucharest will probably have, as an end result, more solid arguments in favour of Turkey becoming a EU Member. In the, accessed on 3 June 2009. 27 See footnote 7. 28 Ion Iliescu, Viziune a fotilor efi de stat asupra Europei i a Planetei (Former chiefs of state perspective on Europe and the world), 4 May 2008, available at , accessed on 10 June 2009.

meanwhile, political support awaits harnessing in a more concrete manner.



Marin Lessenski* Bulgarian Perceptions

Positions and perceptions of Turkeys membership bid in Bulgaria: a backgrounder to the factors that shape it A public opinion poll in the spring of 2008 registered that one third of Bulgarian citizens support Turkeys membership, one third are against it, and one third does not have a definite opinion (Open Society Institute Sofia, released April 2008). This pretty much sums up as a whole Bulgarias position on Turkish candidacy in equal parts supportive, opposing and undecided. There are at least three factors that inform and influence the shape of this position. First, there is the domestic political context, where Turkeys membership bid is often associated with the role and behavior of Bulgarias Turkish community party - the Movement for Rights and Freedoms. Thus, political stances on Turkeys EU membership are often shaped around domestic political calculations with MRF in mind, having a positive or negative effect on the position vis--vis Turkeys candidacy but most often this has resulted in reluctance to define a clear-cut position anyway. At times, this association has been misfortunate for Turkeys candidacy, as the MRF has serious issues with its public image, since there have been allegations of corruption and abuse of

The opinions expressed herein are only those of the author and do not reflect any institutional views.

its position within the Turkish and Muslim communities in the country. Second, there is the bilateral relations context, as the two countries are immediate neighbors with a high level of economic and trade relations, FDI flows, security and defense ties within NATO, and last, but not least different forms of people-to-people contacts through tourism, etc. In fact, the role of this factor can be described as quite beneficial, as bilateral relations can be described as very good to excellent. The third factor, operating on the level of public perceptions, is the historical and cultural context. As is the case of most Balkan states, the modern Bulgarian national state and identity was shaped very much in opposition to the Ottoman Empire and the Turk, in many cases, as the other. This does not mean in any case that the distant past has overarching effect over current attitudes (as bilateral relations prove). But, for example, Turkeys policy of neo-ottomanism has mostly negative connotations in Bulgaria (in contrast to the Arab world where it may be successful) for fears of neo-imperialist aspirations. These factors do not have the same weight or relevance, but their interaction causes the current cautious position and a vigorous or substantial debate on Turkeys candidacy is, with few exceptions, missing.


By the Media The Neutrality of the Mainstream Media and the Soft Power of Telenovelas The coverage of Turkeys candidacy in the EU mirrors the state of political and public debate in the country, which means that media runs mostly reporting and very rarely commentaries. But even these commentaries are rarely based on assessing Turkeys candidacy from Bulgarias point of view, and repeat the more general pros and cons from either the EU or Turkish point of view in mostly neutral tones. This means that the reporting and commentaries in the mainstream and serious media has been fairly objective and more often than not never critical to either side. The progress of Turkey in reforms, its domestic developments in politics and the economy, and foreign policy are also quite regularly reported in the media. Thus, the general assessment for media coverage is that there is a high level of interest in this important issue and close neighbor, with regular, neutral and balanced reporting and rare opeds or commentaries from the viewpoint of Bulgarias interest per se. The nationalist parties media outlets are of course excluded from this trend, as they are (as a rule) negatively disposed to Turkeys membership. The newspaper Ataka of the Ataka party and political talk shows on the cable Skat TV (also previously associated with Ataka) have been regularly reporting and commenting in negative terms about Turkeys candidacy in the EU.


There is a recent phenomenon, quite distant from the negotiations as such, but worth mentioning in the context of Bulgarian-Turkish relations. This is the Turkish charm offensive in 2009, with the advent of telenovelas. They have proven astonishingly successful and the two major TV networks have been running, at some point, about six different telenovelas at the same time. Reportedly, the series have changed quite positively many public perceptions and preconceptions and proved beneficial on how the public perceives its southern neighbor through the media.

By the Government The official Bulgarian position is to support the negotiations between the EU and Turkey, with the EU requirement for Turkey strictly to cover the criteria for membership. The main caveat, which was put forward by the previous Bulgarian government in the area of bilateral relations, requests Turkey to address the claims of the Eastern Thrace refugees after the early 20th c. wars and population displacement. The new government, in power since July 2009, is maintaining the condition. But, in general, Bulgarias governments follow the EU mainstream. The Bulgarian political parties often follow the general line of the respective European political families. But as research into the issue (by OSI-Sofia 2008) has registered, the party positions were rather vague and a variety of opinion existed within both the right and left political camps, within parties and party supporters themselves. In the August 2005 June 2009 period, Bulgaria was governed by a trilateral coalition, which survived through

balancing, trade-offs and compromises, and which as a result rarely had clear-cut positions including on the membership of Turkey. The coalition consisted of the Bulgarian Socialist Party, the National Movement Simeon II (later renamed National Movement for Stability and Progress) and the Movement for Rights and Freedoms the Turkish minority party. The MRF presence had an ambiguous role. On the one hand, the government policy towards Turkey had always to take into account the role of the MRF for the survival of the government, as opposition to Turkeys membership would mean jeopardizing the coalition relations. On the other hand, the MRF itself refrained from any open advocacy for Turkey, as this would be interpreted as acting on behalf of another country. The main coalition party the Bulgarian Socialist Party has been generally supportive of membership, but at the same time it put forward the demands of the Thrace refugees associations and backs a strict treatment of Turkey in the negotiation process. The result was that the previous government (2005 2009) was neither particularly supportive nor particularly opposing Turkeys candidacy, because of the specific domestic political situation. This attitude is demonstrated by at least three facts. Officially, the government never denied that it is supportive of the membership of its neighbor. At the same time, when one of its ministers (Ms. Emel Ete in January 2007) announced during a visit to Ankara full support for Turkeys membership, this was considered a gaffe, which did not reflect the official position. In fact, just the month before this statement (December 2006), PM Sergey Stanishev backed freezing talks because of the noncompliance with the Ankara protocol.

While Bulgarias government at the time had never opposed the negotiations and accession per se, nor supported alternatives to membership such as special relations as a substitute it did successfully advance an issue in bilateral relations at the EU level and link it to the accession process. As mentioned above, this is the issue of compensations and property rights for the Thrace refugees (referring to the events after the Balkans wars), which have not been settled yet. The question was included in Turkeys Progress Report 2007 as part of the Regional issues and external relations chapter of the European Parliament Committee on Foreign Affairs ((2007/2269(INI)). Members of the European Parliament from the ruling BSP have been particularly active in introducing the condition in the EP report, as the Thracian associations (i.e. associations of the descendants of the refugees) have important political clout and ties with the center-left. In the reporting period, 2006-2009, the governing and opposition parties switched sides in the July 2009 elections. The BSP, MRF, and NMSP lost the elections and GERB formed a minority government with the tacit support of the center-right (DSB and UDF), the nationalists from Ataka and the Order, Law and Justice party. The current government of GERB, which came to power after the July 2009 elections, is not likely to change substantially the government policy. Foreign Minister Rumiana Jeleva (who is also Bulgarias appointee for a European Commissioner for 2009) has already pledged support to the property rights claims. The GERB party is a member of the European Peoples Party, and the EPP positions and debates have influenced the party positions.

There have been statements of individual GERB members about an open-ended process of negotiations, but the overall position of the party and its government is quite more moderate and close to the EU mainstream i.e. continuing of negotiations with Turkey meeting the criteria in order to advance.

By the Opposition The Political Positions towards Turkeys Candidacy: No Easy Labels The main characteristic of the party positions in Bulgaria on Turkeys candidacy is that putting labels on them can be misleading. Indeed, the center-right may be slightly more reserved towards Turkish membership and the center-left slightly more supportive. However, there is a diversity of views on both the right and left and in the different parties be they center-right or centerleft. Of the main parties in the country, only Ataka is openly against any negotiations with Turkey; the rest of the parties display more nuanced positions, which generally support negotiations. Despite the fact that individual party members have now and then stated support for an open-ended process or privileged partnership, none of the parties currently has it as its official position. But somewhat paradoxically at first sight, only one party has developed and maintained a detailed and well-defined position on Turkeys candidacy from Bulgarias viewpoint. This is the center-right Democrats for Stronger Bulgaria. A declaration of the DSB, dated May 2006, states that At the basis of this position is

the conviction of the BSB, that the negotiations of the EU with Turkey are an instrument for the overall reform of this our neighboring country, in which democratization and well-being Bulgaria has a deep interest. In other words, the DSB viewed continuing negotiations as essential, but at the same time it warned about premature accession of Turkey that might jeopardize the EU integration processes and last, but not least, the national interests and even security of the EU. DSB has also criticized and warned about the intervention by the Turkish state in the domestic politics of Bulgaria namely the support for the election manipulations of the Movement for Rights and Freedoms. DSBs position has evolved since 2006 and the party is no longer insisting on openended negotiations, but emphasizing the strict adherence to the criteria. However, DSB cannot be considered anti-Turkish per se, since it recognizes and insists on the pivotal role Turkey has as a neighbor and security partner. There is no clear-cut left-right divide in politics over Turkeys candidacy, and this is evident in the difference in the positions between the DSB and a fellow center-right party the Union of the Democratic Forces. Although a center-right EPP member, the UDF is supportive of Turkish membership. It is not clear whether the current coalition with the DSB (within the Blue Coalition) will substantially alter its position, despite the UDF inner circles concerns that the DSB might impose its more reserved position. The extreme nationalist Ataka has been capitalizing on vehemently opposing Turkeys membership in the EU. As a matter of fact, Atakas slogan for the 2009 European elections was No to Turkey in the EU, an issue that certainly was not on the societys

agenda in the middle of economic crisis and upcoming national elections. To set the record straight, Atakas success is largely due to its anti-corruption and anti-establishment rhetoric, rather than to its anti-minority stance. The Order, Law and Justice (OLJ) party, which made it to parliament this year, is a self-described conservative party, associated with the group around the British Conservatives. However, the party does not follow the conservatives unflinching support for Turkey, and OLJ members have been skeptical of Turkeys membership bid. Now, the formerly ruling BSP and MRF are the opposition parties, but this will hardly substantially change their views on Turkeys membership. The MRF will remain a staunch supporter and the BSP will continue to mostly support membership by virtue of its own positions, its continuing partnership with the MRF, and the influence of the European socialists despite that the partys membership is not entirely united around the official party stance.

By the Civil Society Public Opinion: Respondents Evenly Distributed Views Among

When discussing civil society positions on Turkeys membership bid, there are two components that should be taken into account. The first is public opinion in general, and the second is the opinions of non-governmental organizations in the country.

Public opionion about Turkey's EU m em bership

DK 36% No 33%

Yes 31%

Yes No DK

What concerns non-governmental organizations? There have been pretty active exchanges among local NGOs on transborder activities, focused on practical cooperation. There arent any NGOs that can be described as politically active to advocates, either in favor or against Turkeys membership. Policy research institutes have been engaged in public awareness activities, to increase the level of information about negotiations between Turkey and the EU. In the reported period, the European policies program of the Open Society Institute Sofia has been particularly constructive on the issue, generating analytical materials on Turkeys candidacy to fill the gaps in an objective and informed debate on the issue. It has published political and economic analyses on the effects of Turkeys membership for Bulgaria and the EU, a study on the positions of the main parties, and public opinion surveys. It has also organized a major international forum (in the spring of 2008) as a venue for stirring a serious and substantial debate on the issue, which is otherwise missing in the public sphere. The public opinion perceptions are mixed, and a 2008 study of the Open Society Institute Sofia (results released in April 2008, the poll was conducted in February-March 2008) is

very telling about the diversity and balance of views towards Turkish membership. The respondents had to answer the question if, hypothetically, there were a referendum on Turkeys membership on that day, how would they vote. The answers were almost evenly distributed with 33% No, 31% Yes and 36% dont know.

Answer of respondents by party affiliation GERB (Citizens for the European Development of Bulgaria; center-right) Bulgarian Socialist Party (center-left) Movement for Rights and Freedoms (Turkish minority) Union of Democratic Forces (center-right) Ataka (extreme nationalist) Poll by the Open Society Institute Sofia, released April 2008

Support 34.40% 27.90% 67% 44% 21.50%

Against 41.90% 37.20% 2.2% 24% 64.60%

The distribution along political lines is also very telling, and as a rule there is a diversity of opinion among supporters of one and the same party. 67% of supporters of the center-right UDF would support it, as would nearly 35% of the current governing GERB party and even more than 21% of the supporters of the Ataka party, whose official line is against any negotiations. The supporters of the Bulgarian Socialist Party tended to be more against (about 37%) than for (with 28%).

The answers across ethnic lines are not surprising, as the majority of ethnic Turks 59.1% supported membership, along with 27.1% of ethnic Bulgarians and 32.7% of Roma. The arguments in support of or opposition to membership are also quite interesting. There were two sets of questions pros and cons from the EUs viewpoint and pros and cons from Bulgarias viewpoint. The top three benefits for the EU, according to Bulgarians, from Turkey entering the EU would be (1) better relations with the Middle East and Asia, (2) development of multiculturalism and greater tolerance, and (3) increased security for Europe. The top three benefits for Bulgaria would be (1) increased security, (2) ethnic stability and (3) increase in trade. About 59% of the supporters of membership considered that the state interests of Bulgaria and Turkey coincide. On the opponents side, the main argument from the viewpoint of the EU is the religious incompatibility between Turkey, as a Muslim country, and Europe (64.3%). However, only 9.8% of opponents considered that Turkeys membership will bring the end of the EU. The opponents views for the effects on Bulgaria were (1) increased ethnic tensions in Bulgaria, (2) decrease in the level of security in the country and (3) increase in unemployment. Basically, the first two arguments of both opponents and supporters refer to the level of ethnic relations and security but of course with different orientation. The Eurobarometer Survey 69 (2008) provides a basis for comparison across the EU. The public opinion in Bulgaria that is strongly in favor (16%) and fairly in favor (29%), which brings the support to 45%; those who are strongly opposed are 22% and those fairly opposed 17%, which brings the opposition of Turkeys

membership to 39%. Thus the overall support is higher than the EU average of 35% and the overall opposition is slightly higher than the EU27 average of 35%.



zgehan enyuva, Sait Akit1 Turkey Seen from the EU: Conclusions
The aim of the contributions in this volume was to address a very popular subject within the European Union enlargement debate: How Turkey is perceived by different stakeholders in different European Union member states. As was put forward in the introduction, it is difficult to find comprehensive analysis that tackles all the relevant stakeholders and brings together their positions and arguments. There is very limited literature on the European perceptions on Turkeys entry into the EU, and almost none that tries to tackle all relevant stakeholders, such as the government, the opposition, the public and the elites, by exploring their views and examining the media coverage of those views within different countries.2 Thus, the studies in this volume have tried to provide insights into how Turkeys candidacy has been perceived in different EU member states between the years 2006 and 2009. In such an endeavour, the contributions to this volume
Dr. zgehan enyuva is a lecturer at the International Relations Department, Middle East Technical University, Ankara, Turkey and Dr. Sait Akit is a Research Fellow at the Centre for European Studies, Middle East Technical University, Ankara, Turkey. The opinions expressed herein are only those of the authors and do not reflect any institutional views. 2 One exception to this is the TEPAV IAI Talking Turkey series; Natalie Tocci (ed.), Talking Turkey in Europe: Towards a Differentiated Communication Strategy, Quaderni IAI, December 2008. Also, for some detailed analysis on European public opinion, see Antonia R. Jimnez and Ignacio T. Pay, European Public Opinion and Turkeys Accession: Making Sense of Argument For or Against, EPIN, European Policy Institutes Network Working Paper no. 16, 2007.

aimed to find answers to, or insights on, some of the questions which were put forward in the introduction. The main conclusion is that there is no single European debate on Turkey, but there are converging debates.

European Union member states and their positions vis--vis Turkish membership to the European Union Eduard Soler i Lecha and Irene Garcia provide an excellent analysis of Spanish attitudes towards Turkeys entry into the EU. As Soler and Garcia argue, Spain remains one of the EU countries

that are positioned more clearly and unambiguously in favour of the prospect of Turkey joining the EU. Spain is also one of the very few
countries in which public support for Turkish membership has increased over the last years, while there is a clear decline in the majority of the European countries. The Spanish position carries special importance for two significant reasons. First, HispanoTurkish relations enjoy excellent conditions and there are several international joint initiatives that are in place, such as the Alliance of Civilizations initiative. Furthermore, Spain has always fully supported Turkish membership, for a list of reasons that Soler and Garcia explain in detail. However, as their findings demonstrate, while there is clear Spanish support for Turkey, a certain level of reluctance has started to appear, especially among conservative politicians and certain segments of the social sectors. Soler and Garcia discuss in detail what the main causes of this reluctance are, and what may be the possible repercussions. Second, Spain is an important country to be studied carefully, as it will assume the rotating presidency of the European Union as of January 2010, and will surely be very influential in the negotiation process with

Turkey, especially in the face of the rising criticism and objections of France and Germany. On the issue of increasing German opposition to Turkish membership, Katrin Bttger and Eva-Maria Maggi provide a detailed analysis. Their contribution on Germany is very timely and important, as it demonstrates that the positions of different actors in Germany are not as unified and solid as it may be perceived. Bttger and Maggi show that there is a very heated debate in Germany within both opposing and supporting parties on the issue of Turkey. Along with Germany, we also observe France and Austria, two other outspoken opponents with the least favourable public opinions on Turkey. As Nicolas Monceau argues in his analysis of French perceptions, there exists a clear ideological divide between right and left parties on the issue of Turkey. While the centre and far left are in favour of Turkish membership, the centre and far right strongly oppose it. However, it is also evident that these divides exist only among the political elite; the French public opinion remains firmly against Turkeys entry into the EU. The Austrian debate on Turkish candidacy appears to be shaped more by cultural and religious elements, rather than legal and technical issues. Cengiz Gnays discussion gives a clear and short summary on how the debate was over-heated in Austria, and how it brought to surface historical elements, such as Turkish images from medieval times, or reached to the borders of xenophobia and racism. As Gnay argues, however, the debate in Austria has to do more with the integration of immigrants and the acceptance of the emergence of a new multi-ethnic, multi-religious Austrian society than Turkish candidacy alone. This is also evident

in Austrian public opposition to any future enlargement of the EU, with the exception of the Croatian membership. Public opinion shifted its opposition to Croatia only recently, with the strong elite support, especially from conservative Catholic circles. Another contribution that deserves special interest is that on Greek Cypriot perceptions. Since the Republic of Cyprus3 gained full membership in 2004, Turkeys accession process has been directly affected by the unresolved dispute on the island. Successive Greek Cypriot governments, although they have not officially used their veto power, have in practice created obstacles in Turkeys negotiation process with the EU, in coalition with other countries that oppose Turkish membership. As a consequence, Turkey cannot start negotiations on eight chapters of the accession process due to the Cyprus issue. In his article, Costas Melakopides presents the general mood and approach to Turkey-EU relations among the Greek Cypriots. What is noteworthy in this Greek Cypriot perspective is the fact that Greek Cypriots in general are not categorically against Turkish membership, and there is little debate on Turkeys European qualifications. However, there is a general tendency to use Turkeys membership desire as possible leverage and the EU as a platform for achieving Greek Cypriot demands. This appears to be a unified approach: Turkey should become a member of the EU if it fulfils initiatives demanded by the Greek Cypriot society at large, regarding the complete removal of Turkish troops or the

As officially named, The Republic of Cyprus, although accepted by the EU to represent the whole island in the EU, is not representative of the Turkish Cypriot Community on the island. The Republic of Cyprus,,in this volume, refers to the Greek Cypriot administered part of the island, and perceptions in Cyprus refers to Greek Cypriot perceptions.

issue of residents from Turkey. Thus, one of the first points to make is that the Greek Cypriot perception on Turkeys candidacy is overwhelmingly considered in light of the issue of the Cyprus problem. Indeed, the Greek Cypriot perceptions are clear

representations of deep-rooted myths and prejudices about Turkey which take on an almost emotional character, which tries to link all the setbacks in Turkey-EU relations to Turkeys policy on the Cyprus question. This sometimes results in factual misinterpretations, i.e. the consideration of the EC Commission opinion in 1989 on Turkeys application for membership as a rejection due to the situation in Cyprus.4 At times, this leads to exaggeration, and downgrades the implementation to one reason only, i.e. the presence of Turkish troops as the only reason for the non-application of the acquis communautaire in the northern part of Cyprus. The result is largely a one-sided and unfair interpretation of the Cyprus problem, which claims the Greek Cypriot demands to be the only true and just demands, and often proves ignorant of the Turkish Cypriots themselves and their demands by pointing to Turkey as the main party in the negotiations for a just settlement on the island. We believe the
The Opinion of the EC Commission on Turkeys application for membership presented the need to complete Single Market Programme and emphasised the weak state of Turkish economy as the official reason for denying immediate membership. Furthermore, the opinion stressed Turkeys eligibility to become a full member. See Commission of the European Communities. Commission opinion on Turkey's request for accession to the Community, SEC (89) 2290 final. Brussels: 20.12.1989.

ideas and comments by the Turkish Cypriot President Mehmet Ali Talat deserve more attention.5 The deeply rooted perceptions also lead to considerations that possible developments between Turkey and the EU are solely linked to Turkeys gestures with respect to the Cyprus question. As such, the expectations on the possible developments in Turkey-EU relations in December 2009 are narrowly linked to the developments on the island, where there exists a plethora of considerations, as well as the failure on the EU side to meet certain expectations, if not towards Turkey, then towards the Turkish Cypriot community. Greek public opinion also presents a rather similar stand to that of Greek Cypriots. However, Athanasios Kotsiaros points out a very significant characteristic within the Greek society and politics. He argues that following the 1999 Helsinki summit, which represented a major breakthrough in Greek diplomacy, the political elite have started to fully support Turkeys membership, albeit under certain conditions. The 1999 breakthrough symbolized the shift in Greek diplomatic strategy towards Turkey, a shift from confrontation to cooperation, attesting to the belief that Greece had better chances of advancing and protecting its interests against Turkey within a European frame. However, the Greek public and media are not in full accord with the political elite, and especially the public opinion strongly rejects a possible Turkish membership, based on different arguments ranging from economics to a possible flux of Turkish immigrants. Of course, as Kotsiaros argues, there is
Erdal Gven, ADAM: Talatn Kbrs, Sylei, stanbul: Doan Kitap, Kasm 2009. See especially sections eleven and twelve.

the significant impact of the troubled history between the two countries. It appears that for the Greek public opinion, the EU membership process of Turkey is not perceived as an opportunity for reconciliation of the historical issues. Then again, according to Kotsiaros, as long as the will and support of the Greek political elite remain strong, the influence of public opinion will remain less significant. Bulgarian and Romanian perceptions are also significant within the debate of Turkeys accession. First, these two countries are the last two entries within the latest enlargement wave. Second, both countries experienced certain challenges during the accession process that may be very similar to the challenges ahead for Turkey, such as those regarding agriculture. Finally, these countries are in very close geographical proximity to Turkey, and therefore the outcome of Turkish accession would be extremely important for them. Iulia Serafimescu and Mihai Sebe present that there is a significant amount of support for Turkey in Romania. They further argue that Romanian stakeholders take a very pragmatic stand on the issue, focusing on the potential gains for Romania from Turkish membership. Unlike in Western European countries, the issue of the Turkish population being predominantly Muslim appears to have little effect in Romania. The issues of security and Black Sea cooperation surface as more significant determinants within the Romanian debate, all leading to a positive approach to Turkish membership. Turkish-Bulgarian bilateral relations have been improving significantly over the years. These two countries are immediate neighbours, and enjoy a very long history of cultural, political and

economic relations. However, Marin Lessenski shows that this good state of bilateral relations does not necessarily transform into support for Turkish membership. The presence of a sizeable Turkish minority in Bulgaria and their active participation in Bulgarian politics create a rather mixed state of mind among the Bulgarians. Thus, the support and opposition to Turkish membership are at similar levels, while the number of undecided form almost one third of the Bulgarian public opinion. The state of public opinion is also reflected in the political scene. As Lessenski argues, the party positions are rather vague, and a variety of opinion exists within both the right and left political camps, within parties and party supporters themselves. However, the official Bulgarian position remains in approval of Turkish membership. Two other countries that joined the EU in the last enlargement wave are also examined in this volume: the Czech Republic and Poland. During the negotiations process, there have been several attempts to establish parallels between Poland and Turkey based on their similarities in terms of their populations and the state of their agricultural sectors. However, apparently such similarities do not resonate much within Polish circles. Adam Szymaski argues in his contribution that the Polish standpoint vis-vis Turkish membership is highly related to the Polish support for further enlargement. Contrary to Western European states, Poland is strongly in favour of an open-door policy for the European Union, and throws its full support behind future membership of its eastern neighbour, Ukraine. Coupled with this support for further enlargement, Polish political elite and party leaders also stand behind the principle of pacta sunt servanda, which leads to a positive evaluation of Turkish membership.

However, Szymaski rightly points to three important issues that may change this positive outlook. The first issue is that of agriculture. For Poland, which is an agrarian society itself, it is very probable that Turkish membership would create a big debate on the Common Agricultural Policy and possible repercussions on the Polish economy. The second is the role and influence of the Catholic Church. The Catholic Church enjoys great power over the conservative Polish society and its attitude is a very strong determinant. Finally, the lack of knowledge and interest that exist in the Polish public sphere regarding Turkey can work to the disadvantage of Turkey. The opinion polls indicate that the majority of the Polish public is indifferent towards Turkish membership, and its people often make use of stereotypes and oversimplifications when forming their attitudes. Szymaski argues that such a situation is open to possible backlashes, or can easily fluctuate in the face of even minor incidents. Petr Kratochvl, David Krl, and Dominika Drailovs portrait of Czech attitudes towards Turkeys membership reveals characteristics that are not uncommon in some other countries as well: a disinterested public with little information which is using general shortcuts in forming an opinion about Turkey, a lukewarm support for EU enlargement in general, and the lack of a concrete debate on Turkey. Gunilla Herolf discusses the rather peculiar Swedish approach to Turkeys membership to the EU in her article. Swedish parties seem to have reached a consensus in favour of Turkeys entry into the EU, as long as Turkey meets the necessary criteria. Therefore, the political debate on Turkish accession is more focused on Turkeys performance in making necessary

reforms and its shortcomings. However, Swedens strong stand on respecting the legal and historical relations and agreements between Turkey and the EU may serve as an important model for other countries, and Sweden may play a very important role in keeping the Turkish integration process intact and ongoing. Belgium, on the other hand, is far from being a potential frontrunner in the Turkish debate. Yvonne Nasshoven clearly demonstrates that despite the positive approach of the government to Turkeys membership, the Belgian political scene has been dominated, between 2006 and 2009, by domestic problems which have overtaken any other debate, let alone a debate on Turkey. Due to the sizable Turkish community in Belgium, Turkeys membership is considered as an opportunity to further consolidate the diversity within the Belgian society. Although certain extremist elements from both Flemish and Walloon communities strongly question Turkeys European credentials, their role so far seem rather limited. Considering the fact that Belgium will assume the presidency of the EU in the second half of 2010, its position may prove crucial in determining the future nature of ongoing negotiations. One particular country that sends out conflicting signals regarding Turkish membership is Italy. With Sebastiano Sali, Emiliano Alessandri claims that despite the strong bi-partisan political support for Turkey, this support may prove to be misleading in the long run. Especially the Italian public opinion, which has been gradually turning against Turkish membership over the last few years, portrays a sceptical and divided position. Alessandri warns against the identity politics with a religious element, and the possibility of Islamophobia affecting what he

calls Christian public opinion. It is also observed that Italian party politics are divided on the issue and cross-party coalitions for or against Turkish integration may be found, regardless of the ideological positioning of the parties.

What all these analyses indicate Based on all these individual analyses of the contributing experts, we may outline certain important points regarding how Turkey and Turkish membership to the EU are perceived: 1. The media is very influential in shaping opinion, especially public attitudes. Considering that each countrys contribution stressed the persistent lack of public knowledge regarding Turkey, the media remains the main source of information that a non-attentive public turns to for answers. The articles in this volume demonstrate that Turkeys membership is a very popular discussion topic in certain media outlets in some countries such as Germany, while in some other countries, such as Spain or Poland, the debate is much more limited or even nonexistent. However, as we observe in each contribution, it is very difficult to conclude that Turkey receives fair treatment and objective representation in the majority of mass media throughout Europe. While the news and commentaries choose to focus on problems that Turkey poses, objective assessments or even simple factual arguments are very rare. This, however, should by no means be interpreted as a plea for a cover up of Turkeys shortcomings. What is deemed necessary is fairness and objectivity; considering the low level of

knowledge on Turkish politics, society and even economy among European publics, the media coverage should not shed light only on negative aspects. As Tocci (2008) also emphasizes, what Turkey needs is not branding or communication, but to provide information to European publics. 2. Turkeys entry into the EU is a cross-party issue. As all the contributions demonstrate, it is very difficult to find clear-cut party positions on Turkish membership. While there are some differentiations between the government and opposition parties in countries such as Spain and France, it is clear that on the issue of Turkey and EU membership, there are divisions within parties themselves. However, in the case of France, for instance, the debate also appears to exist between the centre and the centre right parties, which are against Turkish membership, and the centre and far left, which are in favour. 3. The issue of meeting the necessary criteria keeps coming up, especially on the issues of human rights and democracy. Even in the most opposing countries such as France and Germany, the public and elite opinion show signs of a possible shift in their opposition, and indicate that they might be willing to approve Turkish membership if Turkey makes necessary reforms and meets the criteria on human rights and democracy. This should lead to an important conclusion for the supporters of Turkeys full integration with the EU: that they should focus on demonstrating Turkeys capacity and willingness to meet these criteria in order to achieve concrete results, and not waste resources and energy locked in seemingly endless debate on Turkeys Europeanness. 4. The contributions in this volume also demonstrate that the debate on Turkeys membership is actually the tip of the

iceberg of larger debate within Europe. Although most of the debate on Turkey takes place within the immigration-identityreligion axis, the issue of Turkey appears to be closely linked with a wide range of unresolved debates on Europes future; the institutional structure of the EU; the repercussions of the recent big-bang enlargement; Europes boundaries; the question of Islam; immigration and the integration of immigrants. It should be no surprise that the public opinion in countries like Austria, France and Germany is not only against Turkish entry, but opposes any further enlargement of the EU itself. Therefore, for an accurate analysis of support and opposition to Turkish membership, one also needs to closely examine the wider debate. It is evident that there is no homogenous opposition or support for Turkeys integration with the EU, and it is possible to find different reasons and motives within each camp. For the champions of Turkish membership, it is necessary to identify these motives, distinguish each of them, and work to address those that offer a possibility of change. The issue of meeting necessary reforms is therefore of the utmost importance.