Turkey’s European Accession: Quicker is Not Always Better


In today’s Guardian, Tariq Ramadan argues that Europe must develop a unified policy of inclusion with regard to Turkey’s EU membership bid.
I agree with the thrust of the article, which makes many of the same arguments I put forth in my article in World Politics Review last week.
Ramadan’s most compelling argument is that Turkey isn’t going anywhere. Europe is stuck with a large, influential Muslim Turkey on its borders whether or not it is included in the Union. Therefore it is in Europe’s interests to use the carrot of membership in its club to shape Turkey’s future.
The only point on which I disagree with Ramadan is when it comes to the time horizon for Turkey’s membership. Ramadan implies that Turkey should earn membership soon when he says that “The only criteria to membership should be those of Copenhagen (1993) – and a European commission report (2004) mentioned that Turkey is very close to satisfying them.”
But this analysis overlooks the fact that Turkey’s reform program has slowed to a crawl since the European Commission report to which he refers was published in 2004. The Kurdish issue remains unsolved (despite the government’s announcement this month of a “new plan” to resolve it.) The Constitution remains unreformed, and civil-military tensions remain unhealthily high. A better reference is the European Commission’s 2008 report, which identifies these problems and more.
As the Romanian and Bulgarian cases demonstrate, quicker is not always better when it comes to joining the EU. The accession process provides a powerful incentive structure for potential members to reform. Once membership is granted, Europe loses a lot of its leverage.
For Turkey and for Europe, Turkey’s EU membership is a means to an end. That end is a liberal, democratic Turkey that is at peace with itself and enjoys a healthy strategic, political, and economic partnership with Europe. This will require a long, deliberate accession process that only ends when Turkey has truly met the criteria of EU membership.
— Ben Katcher


13 comments on “Turkey’s European Accession: Quicker is Not Always Better

  1. Adobe Coupons says:

    I think they consider this to be, nor further do those agreements require approval from the FBI for oral, versus written, testimony. She was subpoenaed earlier this week on behalf of candidate David Krikorian.


  2. Bath says:

    The DoJ further claims in its letter that the OEC’s subpoena is not enforceable, because the deposition is to take place outside of Ohio.


  3. Margaret says:

    I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don’t know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.


  4. arthurdecco says:

    POA asked: “What are the feds so afraid of?”
    To which I reply:
    Surely that’s a rhetorical question, POA? ;_)


  5. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Note that Sibel has been blocked access to her own blogsite through cyber attack. She was twittering up until thirteen hours ago, then the twitters stopped. Who knows how this will unfold?
    What are the feds so afraid of?


  6. PissedOffAmerican says:

    DoJ Pressures Ohio Election Commission to Block Edmonds Testimony
    Long-gagged FBI whistleblower re-iterates request for citizen media in D.C. to show up at Saturday morning deposition…
    The DoJ is now jumping into action, at least on behalf of covering the FBI’s rear, if not yet to issue any “states secrets” claims to stop the scheduled testimony of FBI whistleblower Sibel Edmonds in D.C. tomorrow morning in the Ohio Election Commission (OEC) case of Schmidt v. Krikorian.
    For background, first see Wednesday night’s report:
    • FBI Whistleblower Sibel Edmonds Subpoenaed, Set to ‘Break’ Gag Order Unless DoJ Intercedes
    Former agency translator called to testify in Ohio election case this Saturday on Turkish infiltration of U.S. government…
    …and then today’s update:
    • EXCLUSIVE: FBI Attempts to Block Edmonds Testimony in OH Election Case; Attorneys Say Effort Insufficient to Stop Her
    Whistleblower org says FBI/DoJ attempting ‘censorship,’ trying to ‘silence whistleblower’ answering ‘lawful subpoena’
    Tonight Arthur Goldberg of the DoJ’s civil division sent a letter to the OEC’s Executive Director Philip C. Richter, and Richter has replied. Both letters are downloadable below, and the text is posted there as well.
    In short, the DoJ has informed the OEC that Edmonds has “not complied with the procedures for obtaining authorization from the FBI, her former employer, prior to making any disclosure relating to information that she acquired in the course of her work for the FBI. Therefore, she is not authorized to testify at the deposition.”
    Edmonds and her attorneys argued earlier today in their letter to the FBI (see today’s earlier story and documents) that her employment agreements do not preclude her from answering a lawful subpoena, which they consider this to be, nor further do those agreements require approval from the FBI for oral, versus written, testimony. She was subpoenaed earlier this week on behalf of candidate David Krikorian, who is defending himself in an OEC “false statements” claim by U.S. Rep. Jean Schmidt (R-OH-2nd).
    The DoJ further claims in its letter that the OEC’s subpoena is not enforceable, because the deposition is to take place outside of Ohio.
    In response, the OEC has said it will not enforce the subpoena, but it has not withdrawn it, either. Thus, it seems, Krikorian is still within his rights to carry out the deposition at this time, and Edmonds tells The BRAD BLOG she plans on being there in the morning to answer it.
    As we reported earlier today, the National Whistleblowers Legal Defense & Education Fund, representing Edmonds, issued a statement [PDF] today blasting the FBI and DoJ’s attempts to block Edmonds’ testimony as “censorship” and trying to “silence [a] whistleblower.”
    The Bush Administration’s DoJ had twice invoked the “state secrets” privilege in order to gag Edmonds, to keep her from testifying on matters they argued were of national security. So far, however, the Obama Administration’s DoJ has failed to re-invoke that privilege, though it’s possible it still could do so prior to tomorrow’s testimony.
    In a brief conversation with Edmonds moments ago, she re-iterated her belief that the “MSM will be a no-show tomorrow,” and therefore says “citizen journalists are needed” to cover what may happen at the deposition. Both she and Krikorian, as well as attorneys from all sides, will be available to answer questions from media — both corporate and citizen — before and after the scheduled deposition tomorrow. It is slated to begin at 10:30am Saturday morning (8/8/09) at the National Whistleblowers Center, 3238 P St. NW, in Washington D.C..


  7. arthurdecco says:

    Sibel Edmonds still has to be asked the right questions for this to be more than a dog and pony show, POA. There may be no need to prevent her from testifying if it has already been arranged to only offer up the pretense of an inquiry while wilfully ignoring the information she has previously released to the public.


  8. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Sibel Edmonds has been subpoenaed to give a deposition on Saturday. So far, no move has been made to block her testimony, although they may do it at the last moment to block attorneys from contesting the gag. If she testifies, it may be earthshattering, and extremely damaging to Turkey, and to a wide range of American politicians. If I was Sibel, I’d be surrounded by bodyguards at this point.
    Of course, these fucking coward corporate shills masquerading as the Fourth Estate will not cover this, which further endangers Sibel, and abets our government in concealing the truth from its citizenry and protecting politicians that are known to have committed treason.


  9. JohnH says:

    If it were simply a matter of changing Turkish government institutions, change might come sooner than later. But in terms of changing European attitudes toward accepting migration of Turkish labor, how much patience is practical? One century? Two centuries? And, short of that, could Turkey be expected to accept accession like that of Mexico in NAFTA, where borders are open, except for labor?


  10. WigWag says:

    I understand that earlier this week, Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan meet with the leader of the main Kurdish Party, the Democratic Society Party (DTP). Considering Turkey’s terrible treatment of the Kurds, this is an important (and unprecedented) step in the right direction and should be commended.
    Here’s a part of the article that appeared in the Kurdish Globe, the newspaper of the Iraqi Kurds.
    Friday, 07 August 2009, 06:14 EDT
    TURKEY: Signs of progress in making peace with Kurds
    Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan met with the Kurdish politician Ahmet Turk Wednesday suggesting a move towards reconciliation between the government and the main Kurdish political group, the Democratic Society Party (DTP), which Turk chairs, according to a report in the Hurriyet newspaper.
    “We are in the middle of a process, and I believe our hopes for the future have increased with today’s meeting,” Erdogan told reporters.
    Erdogan had refused to meet with the DTP since the 2007 elections because it did not condemn militant activities of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK. Turkey and the United States consider the militant group a terrorist organization.
    The government’s so-called “Kurdish move” is an attempt to resolve decades-old tensions between Kurds, who constitute at least a 12 million-strong minority in Turkey, and the Turkish government…
    About 40,000 have died in 25 years of fighting between the PKK and the Turkish government. PKK guerrillas based in Northern Iraq were also a point of contention with the United States and the Iraqi government. Just this week, two PKK guerrillas were killed in eastern Turkey.


  11. ... says:

    perhaps someone can tell google to stop blocking certain youboobs as well.. i guess since they ‘own’ youboob they don’t have to disclose what they do or don’t allow to be shown… google isn’t exactly an open organization either…


  12. Steve Clemons says:

    Ben — Turkey has apparently banned YouTube and blocked
    bloggers for the time being. These are not actions by a Democratic
    state wanting to be in the EuroClub. I hope you use your
    considerable influence with those running Turkey today to tell them
    that YouTube, essentially what Time Magazine dubbed “us” as
    citizens, should not be blocked.
    best, steve clemons


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