The debate about the accession of Turkey into the EU is again at issue. At a time when it just opened, on September 1st, the European summit of Newport, in Wales, a preparatory meeting before the opening of negotiations on the accession, promised for October 3, tensions between the representatives from the EU and Turkey were on the rise regarding the Cypriot issue. Turkey does not recognize the Republic of Cyprus, which exercises its authority upon the Greek part of the island where the division de facto of that country, took place in 1974, in a Turkish-Cypriot zone and Greek area. The problem of reunification could have been resolved through Annan’s plan just before the accession of Cyprus to the EU, but the citizens from the Greek part rejected it during a referendum. This unforeseen event took the EU by surprise which, for the first time, had accepted the accession of a State that does not exercises its sovereignty upon its whole territory. Turkey also found itself in a thorny problem. Ankara supported Anna’s plan and had promised to recognize the reunified state, which should have resulted from its implementation. Since the plan was rejected, Turkey faced a paradox: it was requesting its accession to a Union but not recognizing all its members.
The problem came up again this summer when Turkey signed, on July 29, a protocol of agreement on the opening of its borders with the ten new member states of the European Union. For the Cypriot government, this gesture would be equivalent to an official recognition, which is denied by Ankara. Those who opposed the accession of Turkey to the EU took advantage of the incident to raise the question about the opening of negotiations scheduled for October 3rd.

For the Turkish, the return of the controversy about Cyprus is a new attempt to prevent the accession of their country to the EU. Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan, expressed his disappointment and stated that Turkey might definitely withdraw its request as a candidate to obtain the status of member of the European Union if new conditions were imposed at the opening of negotiations.
In the Turkish Weekly, Baris Sanli, a researcher with the Strategic Research Organization (ISRO-USAK) of Ankara, claimed to feel uneasy about the situation. For him, the consecutive controversies about the accession of Turkey to the EU were the result of an ethnical interpretation of European identity. Baris Sanli resorted to absurdity in order to denounce this vision by questioning the French nationality of one of the main opponents to the accession of Ankara into the European Union: the French minister of the interior, Nicolas Sarkozy. If Sarkozy, to whom the consensus press and survey institutes presented as the future president of the French Republic, is French despite his Hungarian, Greek or Jewish origin. Why could not Turkey be European? Baris Sanli stated that Turkey has given more proofs about its accession into the European Union than any other country and that is why it deserved to be accepted.
In Le Figaro, the Turkish geopolitical analyst Semih Vaner said that Cyprus is just the most recent excuse given by those who want to prevent the accession of Turkey to the European Union. He reminded that the division of Cyprus could not be attributed to Turkey only and the latter was far from being the main obstacle for reunification. He urged then the readers of the French conservative newspaper not to be fooled by the Cypriot provocations and by those who tried to benefit from them.

The advocates of the accession of Turkey to the European Union also mobilized. The European Commissioner in charge of the expansion of the EU, Oli Rehn, favored the opening of negotiations with Ankara without saying anything official about the final decision. He stated in Le Monde that such possibility is an incentive for Turkish reforms, whether they take place or not. He reminded that Erdogan had two tasks to fulfill before October 3: a legal reform and the signing of the Protocol on the Opening of Borders. Since they were achieved, negotiations had to be opened.
The former president of Finland, Martti Ahtisaari, and the former general director of the Austrian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Albert Rohan, defended this point of view. Both of them took up the analysis of Oli Rehn, quoted in their forum, with the difference that in addressing the negotiations they see no other way out than the accession of Turkey to the EU. Both men are members of the Independent Commission on Turkey, established by the British Council and the Open Society Institute of George Soros. The two of them had signed a forum in favor of the opening of negotiations with Ankara together with the former French prime minister, Michel Rocard, who is also member of the said commission and friend of George Soros. Like the previous forum, the text of Ahtisaari and Rohan was promoted by Project Syndicate, another association of George Soros, and they have been already published in the Korea Herald and Le Figaro, maybe while waiting to appear in other publications.
These authors share the same point of view about the reasons why the EU should accept the accession of Turkey: Ankara could be a good allied in the “war against terrorism”, as it was during the Cold War. This reading of the Turkish candidacy is totally about the U.S. problems and is still being loyal to the arguments raised from this issue in the atlantist media, arguments that we have analyzed in one of our Focus.

For the atlantist media, the EU membership of Turkey would be an effective way to further anchoring this country in the Western world (important objective, according to Samuel Huntington) and a better way to prevent, through the accession to the EU by a U.S. allied, Europe from becoming independent. But, is it not about an analysis already obsolete?
The relations between Ankara and Washington have not been so good since the war against Iraq begun. The U.S. flightiness about the establishment of a Kurdish State in Iraq has worsened the situation since that moment. There was a recent a controversy in Turkey about the statements made by the former Turkish prime minister Bulent Ecevit and the former commander of the ground forces of Turkey Aytac Yalman. Both of them have taken for granted or clearly stated that, after having supported the PKK –the Kurdish separatist movement from Turkey–, Washington abandoned its leader Abdullah Ocalan to favor the promotion of the U.S. protégé in the Iraqi Kurdistan. Henry Barkey, who was in charge of policy planning in the State Department, tried in the Daily Star to minimize the tensions between the United States and Turkey regarding the Kurdish issue. According to him, it is basically an unfounded Turkish fear that should conveniently be taken care of before Turkish-American relations be poisoned. It is necessary to establish negotiations at the risk of having a Turkish invasion in Northern Iraq. It has to be pointed out that the author claimed to be in favor of the establishment of an independent Kurdish State. This leads to the notion that his main objective is for Turkey not to affect this project with the excuse to fight the PKK in Iraq itself.

Despite the frictions between the Turkish and the American, the old alliance between both States continues to be an argument that could be easily used against Turkey. This is what Vartan Toganian does, president of the Eurasian media group and former officer of the Armenian ministry of foreign affairs. In the Gazeta SNG, the newspaper of the CEI, Vartan Toganian, presented Ankara as the agent of Washington in the Middle East and the Caucasus. He further stated in a text that illustrated very well the hard feelings between Turkish and Armenians, that Turkey has an economy in ruins so dependent on the United States and the European Union and it is normal, therefore, that the EU declines to accept it.