November 28, 2010
They hectically organize events; meet in a variety of forums, hold bi-lateral summits. No, this is not US; it is the smaller candidates on their way to accede to EU. They have offices in Brussels. They excel at creating opportunities for get-togethers. Without, fail, their delegates meet EU officials or parliamentarians each day. They meet for tea and coffee, toast each other in dinners. They exchange information, keep the contacts warm, forming lasting friendships. Before and after each EU report concerning their country, hundreds of contacts are initiated to exchange views and inform their counterparts.
Take Croatia, for instance, it is supposed to join in the same wave as Turkey. But, there is no debate about whether it will join. It is already treated as if it is a member. The country is considered so much “in” that it is determined how many chairs or seats Croatia will get in every EU organ and what it will be tasked with in each committee. Look at us, look at Croatia.
Hundreds of office signs
Take a stroll on Brussels streets; lift your gaze to upper stories of buildings. You will see hundreds of signs announcing lobbies and associations. Countless offices, operating on shoe-string budgets are active as bees around the hive. They constantly knock at the doors of the Commission or the Council. It is not important whether they achieve concrete results, what counts is establishing links and dialogue. Perhaps, in a lucky day one will be awarded a project or grant. The word “EU “raises the excitement level to breathlessness, people run in the direction of EU. They connect, somehow.
Look at Turkey now, we are like brush fire in Brussels. Sometimes we blaze high, sometimes we disappear. More often than not we are no-shows. This is the low point of the 6 year accession journey.
No hope for Turkey
Look at Turkey. A few assessments emerge around the time of the Progress Report; otherwise there is a deafening silence. The common view in Brussels is
1. Turkey appears to have forgotten EU; admittedly EU’s exasperating “escape maneuvers” are to share the blame.
2. The Chief Negotiator, Mr. Egemen Baris is inappropriately laid-back and considered unsuccessful. He plays to the audience, preferring propaganda instead of working on fundamentals and establishing a focus on chapters.
I won’t deny the importance of building an audience supporting Turkish accession, but Baris is all show and no substance. According to officials in Brussels, Bagis’ attitude reflects AKP’s. AKP doesn’t take EU seriously. EU and Turkey, just pretending.
Yalcin Dogan, HürriyetKader Sevinc